Service has always been an important and fulfilling part of my life from playing my flute at nursing homes to volunteering with the local fire department. Currently, I am a firefighter and EMT-advanced for the Moscow Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD) in Moscow, Idaho. Serving one’s community is part of our duty as humans to serve those who are less fortunate than us or who are in need. Mother Teresa said in one of her letters: “The greatest evil is lack of love and charity, the terrible indifference toward one’s neighbor.” She lived this out in her daily existence despite of a deep darkness in her soul. After reading her book Come Be My Light and living in India, I’m going to try to use this philosophy in my own volunteer work back at home.
I see service fitting into my future career (whatever it turns out to be) daily. Even after becoming a nurse or nurse practioner or maybe even a paramedic someday, I will continue to volunteer for our ambulance and fire service and for the Snake River Community Clinic in an even bigger way than I am able to contribute now.
In my free time at the guest house I have had a lot of time to read. As before mentioned, I read Mother Teresa’s Come Be My Light. This book really forced me to think about service not only now, but in the future when I go back to the United States and back to a normal daily life. M.T’s motto “Live in love” is one that, if every human being followed, would make the world a much more beautiful place! Her commitment to serving the poorest of the poor any time of day or night is a great reminder of how we should be treating each other and living our lives. It has reminded me that no matter how tired I am, or how early I have to get up in the morning, responding to that ambulance or fire call is more important than my own needs and wants because someone is suffering more than I am!
My experience with CFHI’s Global Health Education Program has also given me time to reflect on what service means to me and why I do what I do at home. When I first joined the fire department and ambulance company I admit, some of it was for my own personal reasons; medical school applications, to look good in the community, etc. and not a whole lot of it was for the community itself. As I have progressed through my probationary period and a few years of tough trials, I have realized more and more that I am doing this for them, our patients, not for me. There is something about being able to smile at that little elderly grandmother who fell and can’t get up or take care of a child who has just fallen of their bike. No longer is this job about me.