Back in September, my mom had asked all of us if we wanted to do a "Hike for Haiti" for our church. I was reluctant because it was early on a Saturday (yes, I am that lazy). However, her desire to do it outweighed my reluctance to get up early for one Saturday, so I registered along with her.
One month after registering, this past week before the hike, I was feeling pretty down. I felt lazy and lonely with a short wick of patience. When I have weeks like this, there really is no hope for me to get anything done - or to want to get anything done. I will watch too much TV, eat too much ice cream, decide that I can exercise next week, and avoid contact with people, even my family members.
So, going to this weekend's Hike for Haiti wasn't really something I was looking forward to. However, after a night out with my parents and family friends, I was kind of looking forward to going outside and being active - even if it meant just walking around. I had also decided to cover the event as a Noozhawk intern, so it'd would be nice to write something afterwards and get something out there on the web.
As it turns out, the Hike was really a refreshing experience for me.
When we got to Manning Park, where the Hike began, one of the first people I ran into was my first childhood friend, Katie. She was always a bright ray of sunshine in my life as a middle-schooler, and she's still exactly the same person. Ok, not exactly the same, but still as much infused with unicorns and candy in every fiber of her being as she was before.
I was able to meet a lot of people at the event thanks to Sr. Kathleen Patrice, who I've known since I was a little kid at elementary school. The Hike was also a benefit for a local nonprofit called Destined for Grace and I was able to meet the founders and talk with them. The organization has a lot of thrift shops in the area, those of which I love going to, and all the profits made at these thrift shops fund a school in Haiti.
And as the Hike started, my mom walked alongside some old friends and I was able to hang out with my brother and talk with him as we walked together. He and my dad were acting like goofballs the whole way there. It was nice to be together.
From the beginning of the week to the Hike, I felt like anything I did had no meaning. Things would happen and no matter what I did or how hard I tried, I could not change the outcome of things. For example, no matter how hard I try to wake up early, it will never happen. I could go to my parents' prayer group, but I'm not close enough with everyone to make a difference. I have also been brooding about things that are happening outside of my control, like where my boyfriend will go to med school.
Sometimes, in the words of someone who works with me, I was just having a hard time last week. It's not like anything has triggered these emotions (maybe hormones have), but I just feel them all at once.
I am not saying that going on the Hike for Haiti made my feelings go away, but something alleviated these feelings. Action, and it didn't benefit just me. I decided initially to go on the Hike for my mom. And I covered the event for my news organization because I didn't think anyone in our community knew about this great event and about Destined for Grace.
Life is always a work-in-progress. It will never be perfect and I will not always be happy. But I think what I can take away from all of this is that action is always the best medicine. Writing it all down, going on a walk, anything. The less selfish the action is, the better.
I recently came across this quote that explained it perfectly for me.
Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.
So instead of using my strength to worry about myself, I need to remember to use it in the action of taking care of others. That's where my happiness lies.