A Reflection on Habitat for Humanity – Sumter, South Carolina

Friday night’s dinner was definitely bittersweet. It was wonderful being around my team for one final dinner, but also extremely sad knowing that it all was coming to an end. If you’ve been keeping up with the pictures on Facebook, you would be able to see just how far a group of 14 “randoms” came in building a home for Nadean.

I was surprised when dinner didn’t consist of tears, but instead of pure love, laughter, and joy. It was a time where we all celebrated our accomplishments, cherished our memories together, and ate one last meal as a hardworking team. I never thought that I would be given the opportunity to meet so many likeminded individuals, ones who had the same ambitions, values, and views on life as me. This trip opened up my eyes to a world that I never thought imaginable; one where I could truly be myself and realize how grateful I am for what I have. The dinner was at a place called Hibachi Grill, and it was a Mandarin style buffet. It was our last chance to try new foods, reminisce on old foods, and eat way too much ice cream.

We were blessed to be in the presence of almost all of the volunteers who worked with us on the site, day in and day out. We were also lucky to have Nadean, the future home owner of the home we started building, join us to celebrate. I know I was thankful to have her be with us to applaud our accomplishments, and so that we could tell her all about what her new home will consist of. It was unreal to hear about her journey in life, her struggles, her accomplishments, and everything in between. I had said when I signed up for the trip that I was hoping we would get to meet and/or build with the future homeowner, and I’m extremely grateful that we did. It added a personal touch to the trip that I will never forget.

Our final goodbyes after dinner were filled with lots of love, inspiration, friendship, and heavy hearts; it was tough knowing that the journey that is Nadean’s home would have to be completed by others. Thankfully, we have a Facebook group where we get to see all the progress on the house and I can’t wait to see the end result.

It’s hard to believe in just a short week how much my perspective on life has changed. I know this may sound unrealistic to everyone, and “how can one possibly have their life changed in just one short week”? But, I can promise you that even the smallest things make a big difference, and that everyone can make a change in any capacity.

This trip has taught me not only how to work in a team to do better for others, but also how to push myself beyond my limits and to be proud of myself. It taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to, and that no task is too big for me. I now believe in myself more than I ever have before, and I feel so much more confident to trying new things. Before this trip, I had never even really used a hammer. By the end of the trip, I was confidently using power tools (even though I could barely lift them). I’m a firm believer that if you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything and everything and take on the world.

Thank you to my wonderful team for being so supportive in every little aspect of this trip, from not giving up on each other, to something as simple as supporting all my blog posts. It’s still slightly terrifying to be posting these in fear of judgment from others, but its the support and love that I get that makes me want to keep writing, because I truly do love it. Thank you to every person I spoke to this past week, who touched every part of my heart imaginable. I met some of the most kind, beautiful, loving people I have ever met and I can only dream of being half the people they are. This past week I learned that even though there is a lot of bad in the world, there is so much good if you look around you.

I encourage everyone to get involved as a volunteer at any capacity. Not only are you doing something good, but just think of how many people you are making an impact on. Nothing is more rewarding than putting a smile on other’s faces, and I promise you that you will come out of it as a better person.

I’m going to end this post on a positive note, and I thank everyone who has read, commented, and liked my posts from this past week. Your kind words have inspired me to keep volunteering, keep posting, and keep trying to be a better person every day!