I have been asked to speak to a group of high school students and their parents and friends at a fund raising dinner this coming Friday night. They are raising money for their annual service learning trip to Nicaragua this spring. One of the reasons I was asked to speak is because I am on the Board of Directors of the organization which works in Nicaragua and who organizes the trip for them. Another reason is that I, too, lead similar trips each year taking a group of high school students and adults to build homes or schools in the country which is the second poorest in the western hemisphere.
When I was asked to speak I was told, “Something inspirational…”
And, the moment I said “Yes” the tables were turned.
Most of the time I am the one asking the questions.
“What have you learned?”
“What does it mean?”
“What do have you given?”
“What have you been given?”
And, I sit back and listen for the responses.
Now, it is my turn.
They have asked the question of me and I now have to search heart and mind and soul for the words to describe what I have learned and what I have been given and how those experiences have touched and changed my life which they certainly have. Some of what I will say will have to do with my eyes being opened and with seeing the world more as it actually is than how it is around me. Some of what I will say will have to do with humility and gratitude and hospitality. And, some of it will have to do with what it means that my neighborhood is bigger today than it was before I took my first trip.
I was honored to be asked.
And I would do anything that I could to support the efforts of these young adults. But, they have turned the tables on me and have forced me to find words to describe experiences that have elementally changed my life. I wonder what I will say.