How will your presence enrich our community?
I wished the stench would go away. I wished the diseased, savage dogs would leave me alone. In fact, I wished I hadn’t come at all.
A couple weeks before sophomore year, I traveled to Virginia and helped rebuild and remodel homes of the impoverished residents. Sure enough, the Sister of our sponsoring church approached me, and, with a grim look on her face, requested my labor on the house.
“Why’s it called the house?” I questioned.
“Well, in my opinion, this place should just be burned and rebuilt,” said the Sister. “You’ll be working with two women who own the property to clean up the porch and re-do the living room. I’m gonna warn you, though, DO NOT pet the dogs, and make sure you always wear your gloves. But please try to be kind and act as if it was your home.”
Arriving at the work site, I greeted the two homeowners and asked if I could begin my job. What was I getting myself into? But as the week progressed, so did I. Whether it was the newly plastered and painted walls, the shining linoleum floor, or the swept up porch?now clutter free?the house slowly turned into the palace.
After three days of hard work, sweat, and aching backs and muscles from painting, the masterpiece was complete. Maybe not a Mona Lisa, but stepping away from the challenge would have defied the very reason I went to Virginia. In fact, I might have never turned the house into the palace.