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Why Serve? Humanitarian Expedition Reflections

deonne_johnson
Instructure
Instructure
0 0 57

Our in-house wellness advocate recently asked me to write an article for our monthly newsletter on health and wellness. It got me thinking … a lot. I found myself pondering the last 10 years or so and how I’ve intentionally helped heal my heart. It’s been almost ten years since my divorce, and I clearly remember the apprehension of spending the winter break alone in 2012. I was a devoted mother and the idea of spending the holidays without my children ripped my heart a hole the size of Texas Alaska. I had this horrible fear that I’d spend the holidays in bed if I didn’t go out and do something big, something that wasn’t about me. Thus the reason for me waking up all alone in an Atlanta hotel room on Christmas morning. With the support and financial backing of some of my closest friends, I was on my way to Guatemala for a trip that would soon change my life. I had heard about humanitarian expeditions and was fortunate enough to connect with an amazing organization whose framework and model mirrors my own belief system. Lend a hand, connect meaningfully with people, teach people to fish (vs. giving them fish), and support communities in a sustainable way.

Service has a way of healing our hearts. I left hoping to make a positive impact in a small, remote village. I came home knowing my heart and life had been changed for the better. I was so changed, in fact, that I committed to becoming a Certified Expedition Leader for CHOICE Humanitarian and now lead trips about once every 18 months. It fills my cup in a lot of ways: the sense of adventure, the opportunity to travel to foreign places, meeting new people, and experiencing different cultures. (I’m reminded of Mark Twain’s quote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”)

This service mindset trickled into my heart and then became a way of life. I found myself more service-oriented in my parenting, in my relationships, in my role at work. I wake up wondering, asking, pondering, “How can I make my corner of the world a better place today?” Sometimes that’s being more forgiving of the towel bar that my son accidentally pulled off the wall as he was getting into the shower. Other times it’s having empathy for teachers that are new Canvas users and struggling to learn new software. Perhaps it’s a new team member who has jumped into the deep end amongst incredible contributors and feels a bit of imposter syndrome. And often, it’s remembering to give myself grace as I learn to be a more effective manager, a more patient mom, a better human. I invite you to consider adding this question to your morning routine, during your cup of coffee, or shower, or even before getting out of bed: “How can I make the world a better place today?” Inevitably, it’s making me a better person.

If you’d like to learn more about my most recent humanitarian expedition, please check out Humanitarian Expedition to AFRICA!

And if you’d like to learn more about the incredible work being done by Instructure’s Instruction Design Team, check out some of our more popular blog posts: