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(Editor’s note: Following is the third in a series featuring the winners of the 2009 Indianapolis Serra Club Vocations Essay Contest.)
I watched from afar as a woman gracefully and diligently cared for all of the kids flocking to her side.
It was just another Sunday during my summer before my eighth-grade year, and I was volunteering at the Breakfast Club. It is an organization where teenagers can make breakfast for the children in the local area that are suffering from poverty.
It is, by far, my favorite choice of service because it expands beyond the line of the helpers and the ones being helped. When you are there, it is like you are all a little family.
The lady that I first observed had a smile that could light up a room. As soon as I met her, I could feel her loving spirit spilling everywhere. She really was an inspiration at first sight.
She did not belong to my parish, and I had never seen her before. It was obvious that the young kids that regularly came to the Breakfast Club were really familiar to this warm spirit and drawn in just like I was.
As I played paddy cake with the little girls, she helped other children draw pictures. This is when I noticed her sense of humor and her sincere quality. I do not know her history or her background, but I could almost tell that she had once been in their place, too.
As the morning went on, I was dreading the time when I would have to depart from my new role model. From now on, I vowed to treat any service project, big or small, just like she had. She never made it seem like a burden, and really interacted with everyone there.
I wish that I had gotten to spend more time with her or even known her name. I even asked my youth minister who she was, but it wasn’t someone she had met before.
When I saw her, I saw God. I did. This was the first time in my life, I believe, that I legitimately looked into a person and saw Christ himself.
I could hear God calling me to strive to be like her, which in turn would be following his works. I wish I could have thanked this stranger for brightening my day, week and life. It makes me want to strive that one day I will be on the other side of this situation, and people will see God in me.
Did I mention that this inspiration, this graceful spirit, inside a humble body was dressed in a habit and was a nun?
(Emily and her parents, Kevin and Joan King, are members of St. Lawrence Parish in Indianapolis. She completed the ninth grade at Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis last spring, and is the ninth-grade division winner in the 2009 Indianapolis Serra Club Vocations Essay Contest.) †