Jesus said, “Love your friends like your own soul, protect them like the pupil of your own eye.
I am lucky enough to have the freedom in my life to be an advisor for the yearly one week Senior High Youth Group Service Projects of our church that take place in diverse cultures throughout the world. This year will mark my 10th.
The Service Projects are so much more than service. Between the kids new friendships are born, old friendships are strengthened. And it happens between us advisors and kids, and advisors and advisors. And between all of us and the people we serve, or serve us, in our new places of eating, sleeping, and working. I have witnessed incredible acts of love and bravery on these trips, often bound together. We create a safe haven for kids to explore Jesus’s teachings, to open themselves, and if they wish to, to reach out for help and friendship. In return I have witnessed kids achingly exposing their deepest fears and secrets, and being surrounded by protective love and kindness in return. Just because this is Wellesley does not mean there is no darkness in these kid’s lives: like divorce, sexual diversity issues, abuse, and mental illness. Yet they and we learn to love each other like our own souls, and to learn how important it is to love ourselves like the pupils of our own eyes. I know that for me these lessons have transformed the way I live my own life-I’ll bet they have transformed the lives of the kids I serve (and that serve me), too. And all of us, and the world, are better for it.
May the world know, as Jesus taught, that friendship is a cornerstone of The Kingdom. Through friendship comes love, with love comes peace. May our hearts and minds be opened to the many ways we can be friends to each other.