Community of Benevolence

This morning I took my future mother-in-law* out to brunch. We had a lovely time talking about my recent trip to Ireland and about her plans for the rest of the week, among other things. In between our pleasant non-conversation, she asked what I expected to pursue as a career in California.** I explained to her that I want to work for adult literacy through the means of a non-profit. Needless to say, she had never even considered that as a career choice and really didn't understand why I would bother to go into such a non-lucrative and unglamorous position.*** I pontificated on the subject: on my passion for solving problems of illiteracy out of a sense of fairness, but also out of simple economic need. Educated people make better decisions; they can protect the environment by knowing how to recycle, they can get better jobs by having desirable skills, they can improve their own lives and enrich the community. 

Well, as I was pontificating, the lady at the booth behind us was listening in because, as she was leaving, she excused herself into our conversation to comment on my ambition. She actually thanked me for my career choice. Her husband, she said, is a doctor who recently started his own little philanthropic notion to visit homebound patients. this woman was so excited that "young people actually care" to help others -- she was headed straight home to tell her husband that he can consider himself in good company.

One of the things that I love about tutoring, that I didn't even think of when I started the work, is the community that forms from the action of teaching another person in a language they understand. There is something so rewarding about finally communicating an idea to someone who couldn't grasp it before. I will never forget (or forgo) the wonderful group of friends that I made while tutoring at Penn State. Now I know there is yet another community -- that formed between people who, while engaging in different occupations, have the goal of helping others. 

*did I mention that I am engaged, as of May 11th?
**did I mention that I'm moving to Los Angeles in slightly less than one month?
***she's not as shallow as I make her out to be. she's a wonderful woman with practical concerns... like rent and groceries.

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