On work, intentions and sharing stories

This week has been my busiest week since starting my Heston internship. Monday I spent the day at work ready assisting with a field-trip to the outlets so that the clients could study the customer service techniques employed by those who worked at the outlets. Tuesday I spent my day working at the food pantry, and I was put in charge of unloading, sorting, and repackaging two weeks worth of food. I was working with four people. Two of them were working community service from the prison, and two of them were working as a mission from their church. The two who were working off their triple-digit hours of community service were some of the most hardworking individuals that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with, one was lifting as many boxes of food as his body could, while he was jumping on and off the trucks that we had to load. The other worked meticulously as we attempted to fill the bags of food that would be handed out the next day. Neither of them complained, and both of them worked as hard as they could, despite the fact that they were literally forced to be there. The two workers from the church, both of whom were approximately our age, spent their time breaking down boxes slowly away from the rest of us, using their phones frequently, and talking. Neither of them were willing to do any of the hard work that those on community service were willing to do, despite the fact that they volunteered to be there. They wanted to help. I thought about this during my lunch break with the two guys from community service. I respected those two more than I ever could respect those people from the church, because hard work trumps good intentions. To me, it does not matter whether you want to help people or save the world, if you are not willing to put in the work, and do the hard work necessary then it does not matter. The two men that I worked with had no aspirations to change the world, nor really any desire to help those people at the food pantry, but they did, and to me, that is what is important.

Then after a day of hard work, which was a nice mental break from the rest of my work, I went on the first glean of the season. We were to go to a farm, and pick the strawberries that were not going to be picked otherwise, which were to be donated to the food pantry, and one church that the founder of the project frequents. It was another nice break from my work, I got to drive out to the country, talk with an interesting group of people who take time out of their lives every summer to help provide food to those who need it, and pick strawberries.

Wednesday I spent the day doing paperwork, while also working on the GED tutoring that I was helping with, and a workshop that I am going to be giving next Monday. Thursday was the same, but with the added bonus of being able to return to the farm and glean some additional strawberries.

Then Friday, I got to go to breakfast with everybody where we got to talk with Cara, somebody who went through a similar situation as my mother. She found herself with two kids, and below the poverty line. She worked her way through the gap that occurs when somebody makes enough money to get reduced benefits, yet she did not make enough to counteract the amount that she lost in benefits. It was interesting to hear Cara talk about the situation, and compare her to my mother, who simply made her way through the ordeal, and never said a word about it afterwards. Even now, we live a decent life, in fact she just bought her own house, but she does not care to talk about what happened. She does not think that it is worth discussing, and on some level I tend to agree. While I do appreciate what Cara is doing, going out and doing whatever is necessary to show how broken the system is, I do not think that I would want my mother to do it. I would rather see my mother continuing to move forward, continuing to make herself happy. Not everybody who has gone through something should feel the need to help others; not every story needs to be told. Is that selfish to think or say? Possibly, but I think that happiness is what everybody should strive toward. If trying to help others by using her own experience makes Cara happy, then so be it, but then the converse must be true, and if somebody is happy not helping, then so be it. 

 

Brandon McTigue
Gettysburg

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