So, after a week of mission tripping out to Raleigh, North Carolina, I’d like to say that I’m back with a newfound sense of enlightenment. Or at least appreciation of who I am. Or perhaps the secret of the universe. Alas, at the end of the day no matter how much good you think you are doing, it’s a week. One week out of your life that’s somewhat inconvenienced for the sake of helping others.
Now, none of this is meant to represent some dissatisfaction with my trip. I had a good time, I helped some people, I hung out with some cool kids. Ultimately, I know I did good, for one week, while I was slightly inconvenienced by sleeping on the floor with 40 other people. So this isn’t meant as some anti-mission trip rant so much as a… reflection of sorts on where I was, and what I was doing.
I never know how to feel when I attend these things. I didn’t grow up in the particular religion that I was escorting on this trip, and the place we stayed was a church other than that religion, too. (I figure I’m covering all my bases.) But it’s always strange for me. Not that I find one religion stranger than another (except, you know that one where we all worship Tom Cruise. I never could quite get behind that Messiah) but I never quite know how to act at these things. Other than just being on other people’s definition of best behavior, not necessarily MY definition of best behavior.
So, we get there, and we all get name tags… those sticky ones that wear off in a few hours… but we’re expected to keep them for a week. Now these name tags barely cling to your shirt the first time, by the second time they’re being held on by hope, and by the third shirt you’re pretty much looking down and wondering at what point your name tag decided to jump for it and is living the good life floating into a sewer somewhere. Maybe they didn’t expect me to change shirts every day? I was sweating pretty badly under the Raleigh sun, so I’m going to say that it was a public service that I ended up changing my shirt every day.
There is a lot of recycling that went on this week. Leftovers from every meal were put into a compost pile. Normally, I’m for a compost pile. I don’t know the science behind it, but people who know tell me it’s good for the environment. What it turns out I’m against is a MOBILE compost pile, that is created in one location and meant to be taken to another. You see, a compost pile, for those who don’t know, is a pile of leftover food and waste that is used to help plants and crops grow. By the third day, it smells a little like my shirt did working out in the hot Raleigh sun. (On a scale of 1-10 it rated close to “oh dear God if you love me you’ll take away my sense of smell right now.”) So, we kept throwing leftovers into this tiny cooler that I prayed would never ever be used to take beer to a concert ever again.
So that was just the recycling part of the week. There are still many more adventures to cover regarding my week as Missionary.