This past Saturday, Lindsey and I played in a home volleyball tournament with the JMU Women’s Club Volleyball team. Before each match, captains are called forward to see who gets to start the match with the serve and who will be receiving. Before serving, individuals will sometimes say, “service” in order to let the other team know that they are about the begin. To us, we hear the terms ‘serve’ and ‘service’ at least a hundred times each week; on Saturday we were asked, “Serve or Receive?” probably around 15 times.
Service is said far too many times in our life for us to still be unsure of the meaning, but that’s exactly what we’ve come to realize this week in class. I’ve had classes where we’ve spoken about community service compared to volunteering all while discussing whiteness, but not other class has involved discussions as much as ours. What is community service? What does it mean to each of us? Is it wrong for us to gain more from the experience than those we are “serving?” While all of these questions arose in class, I couldn’t help but be speechless. This is a topic that I think we’ll all battle with for the rest of the semester and even during our trip to Phoenix.
Feelings of guilt and uncertainty arose for hours during class on Tuesday, and unfortunately, I don’t think those feelings will ever go away. I can only hope that through more education of the Lost Boys in Arizona and more discussions about service, we can create our own definitions and meanings to the term community service. After class, we read about what it’s actually like for the refugees in Phoenix to be relocated in such a different environment with a different culture. While we did get a chance to discuss how overwhelming it must be to move to the US, we definitely didn’t get an insight onto what it’s like for them until reading this week’s readings. I continue to gain a greater understanding with each reading and can only hope that by the time we go to Phoenix in the spring, I am prepared as an individual and we are prepared as a group to learn through this experience.
So I’ll leave my blog this week with two questions: Serve or Receive? Can meaning be found in that question outside of volleyball? I sure hope so.