Saturday, July 30, 2011

I Know What I Did This Summer

I have the great opportunity of working at Camp Kostopulos in Salt Lake City. It's a summer camp that serves individuals with disabilities. It is a rewarding experience (and the reason for sparse amounts of posts lately). While working there over the last few months, I have learned things about myself, life, and God's plan for His children. I'd like to share some of them with you.

First, I have learned that, generally speaking, there are more experiences to laugh about than there are negative experiences to lament. Laughter has a great power to it. Last week at work was really difficult for me, and yet as I look back on it, I find myself laughing more often than groaning. Cracking the corners of your mouth every once in a while does the body good. Laugh. I dare you.

Second, I have gained a greater understanding of the love of God. I get to work with some of the greatest people on earth. If you've never had the chance to work with people with disabilities really closely, I advise you to find the opportunity. They can teach you so much. Many live in group homes, which hurts my soul. Everyone deserves the opportunity to be loved completely, and often God is the only one who offers such love. I am grateful to know that the Atonement can fix those things that are unfair about life. The Atonement enables us to feel infinitely loved when there is no other source.

The third lesson I have learned deals with me as an individual. My job allows me to unleash my inner child and enjoy life. It's okay to have fun, to be sporadic, and to do things that are out of the ordinary. It feels as though I'm beginning to lose the societal idea that "when you do weird things, people look at you funny;" replacing it instead with commanding the attention of the world for the good I do in a different, but effective way. I do good things for work. I help people with disabilities improve their self esteem and hope in life. That's what we all want. Why should we think those who aren't "like us" want anything different?

The greatest part about my job is that I have the opportunity to make a difference. It's an incredibly powerful experience when lives are changed because of the things that you do. Most people look at my job and think, "Oh, I could never do that," and I wonder why they think they could not make a difference. I sound like an obnoxious optimist, but it is nonetheless true. There is power in human interaction. We, out of necessity, need to interact with others. It helps our cognitive development and it helps our spirit.

This summer, I made a difference. What did you do?