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Serving in the Spirit of Mutuality

Breathe in, pause,  breathe out, and focus on the present. Remember why you’re here. 

These are the things that pass through my mind dozens of times daily as a volunteer. Each day begins with oatmeal, quiet music, and opening up the drapes to let the Savannah sun in. The mornings are peaceful in the marsh where we live. On our 20 minute drive through downtown to the Good Samaritan Clinic where we serve, Joseph, my fellow community member, and I listen to the daily readings. We make sure to greet our fun coworkers with a “buenos días” and a smile before we get down to work. Time is spent performing routine checks, speaking with patients, taking vitals, administering vaccines, interpreting for the NPs and the doctor,  and various other nursing and administrative responsibilities. Early on, someone at the clinic told me “we do what we can and we’re happy to serve”. Whenever I begin to worry, I take some deep breaths and remember that. No matter what, we do what we can with what we have in order to serve others in a spirit of mutuality.

We volunteers often take our hour lunch outside where I can feel the wind on my face, put my toes in the grass, and watch both the local cats and clouds pass by. We finish out the afternoon, say “hasta mañana” and head home to rest. Nearly every night we cook and have dinner with the girls, Lily and Min Ji, while hearing about how their days went at their sites. Evenings often consist of quiet time to read and prepare for the next day. 

Learning to trust in God has been sail-boating in a tiny boat. At times, I feel the Spirit fill my sail with a strong tailwind, but other times it’s far more subtle. Although its strength varies, I know that as long as I keep my sail up, I move forward over the waves through a transformative year.

As long as I take a deep breath, stay in the present, and put my whole heart into working with the people I see each day, I will be on the right path. Finding joy, peace, and gratitude in such service is something I would like to carry with me into the future.

Nolan Gundlach: Savannah, Georgia

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