Why Not?

Over the past four years I’ve answered thousands of questions about my adventures in Uganda, aboard the M/V Africa Mercy, and my time with AmeriCorps*National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) and FEMA Corps.  People always want to know what I did in my time of service both in Africa and across the United States.  They want to hear the stories of adventures throughout the Dark Continent, chasing disasters, and serving others.  But they never seem to ask the most basic question:  Why?

Earlier today, one of my former Corps Members (CM) from AmeriCorps*NCCC – FEMA Corps shared with the world her reasons for serving.  Her words got me thinking about why we find ourselves serving.

Casey is an amazing young woman who I had the honor and privilege of having on my team.  She, like me, is crazy enough to return for a second year as a Team Leader (TL).  I’ve included her blog on my links so everyone can follow her adventures.
:::END NOTE:::

Unlike her, I was not born and raised in a small town, but traveled around the country as my family followed where the Army sent my father.  This constant movement has fed a wonderlust that has defined my life ever since.

My first ventures out of the country landed me in Honduras, serving alongside members of my youth group with Crossing Boarders as we helped dig trenches and lay down pipe to supply running water to the local villages.  I returned the following year alongside my brother and found it satisfying to experience the culture of others and see life from a different perspective.

From that moment, I have been wondering ever since.  From Upper New York State with Young Life’s Saranac Village to Southern Spain, Uganda with Akia-Ashianut to Togo and the M/V Africa Mercy with Mercy Ships, and into my experiences with AmeriCorps*NCCC and FEMA Corps.  Even now I prepare to head to Scotland with family and another year of service alongside AmeriCorps St. Louis.

I’ve never really taken the time to ask myself “Why?”  It’s never been important to me to know.

I serve because my parents taught me to care for others.  When the tornado hit Ft. Steward all those years ago (1996 if I remember correctly), I watched my mother’s simple gestures of sharing coffee and learned that simple acts can change the world.

I travel because it’s in my blood.  Well, to be honest, that is an excuse.  I travel because I’m not tied down to a single place.  My roots have been spread across the country and across the globe and my family (ie: relatives, friends, teammates, etc) is spread to the four winds.

Home has always been where the heart is.

We can get consumed by this simple question: “Why?”  I hate it because I cannot explain the calling of the heart.  I can’t explain the adventure, nor the journey.  I just go, following a calling in my life.

I guess the question we should be asking is “Why not?”

Is it money?  Security?  Complacency?

I learned years ago to live with reckless abandon.  To follow God with every fiber of my being because the alternatives scare my [edited]-less.

I know I’m afraid of settling down.  I haven’t tried to hide the fact that I will always be a nomad at heart.  Serving allows me to continue this adventure.  Chasing disasters, helping people, and that good feeling I get when I pass out from exhaustion after a long day of work are all part of this adventure.

I keep going because I don’t want to find myself looking back at my life and questioning why I didn’t take that chance.

I may never be able to answer these questions, and I am perfectly fine with that.  I guess, in the end, we follow our hearts or let something within us wither away.

Just another rant that I’m gonna blame on my CM.

God Bless and PEACE

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