Monday, March 24, 2014

Serving with an Open Heart



Catholic Volunteer Network, in partnership with Catholic Extension, is hosting Days of Service and Reflection all across the country in the dioceses where our Campus Recruitment Associates serve. As these events take place, we will share reflections from students who participate.

Reflection by Jessica Arias, University of Redlands

For our community service we visited the Waterman Nursing Center here in San Bernardino, Ca. My fellow students from the University of Redlands put on various activities for the elders. We made valentine cards, some played card games, and we also had nail painting for the old ladies. It was a lot of fun!

Jessica spends time with the residents of Waterman Nursing Home.
This was actually our third time visiting the Waterman Nursing Center as a group. I was really excited to see familiar faces from previous occasions. What is so significant about our service at the Center is that we are able to experience Jesus’ presence just by being there and sharing time. It’s quite a humbling experience. Sometimes it may be hard to communicate with some of the residents because of their health condition, but that doesn’t mean that there is no connection. On the contrary, I feel like there is a greater connection that goes beyond the superficial level. I don't really know how to explain this.

I say this because there is this particular lady who I always see. She loves to get her nails done and her favorite color is red. Every time I see her I get the chance to spend some time with her and do her nails. On this day, since we had the opportunity to make valentine cards I decided to make her a card, and as I was making her the card she was telling me how she recognized me when I said my name and that she was really happy to see me again. This was significant to me because it reassures that there is a special connection even though we may not say much. For example, sometime it is hard for me to understand what she is saying so we may just exchange a few words and smiles and not really have much conversation but, I can still feel joy and love just by being there with her. When she told me that my presence was appreciated, it was reassuring to know that she felt the same way. It’s truly a blessing to visit these people. I think it is amazing how we can all experience God's presence (love) through service. They may not all be that same experiences but, you can definitely see God through them.

Service to me means having an open heart to serve others in whatever their needs are, and it can be as simple as sharing time with the elders.   

Jessica is a sophomore studying at the University of Redlands. She also plays a leadership role in her campus ministry, serving as a Campus Recruitment Associate through CVN's partnership with Catholic Extension.