Pouring from an Empty Cup

Print Article SHARE:

I was on fire with the desire to serve others when I began my AmeriCorps term in the summer of 1999. During the daytime I worked for VOICES, a low-income advocacy group focused on Washington State's implementation of welfare reform policy. Then, a friend invited me to a meeting opposing a change to limit Spokane's expansive human rights ordinance, and I enthusiastically filled my evenings with organizing meetings and door-to-door canvassing.

I came home one evening several months later after another round of canvassing. I had stomped up endless concrete stairways of low-income apartment buildings in downtown Spokane knocking on doors, brandishing my clipboard for signatures, and having the same conversation with everyone who answered. Most of the people I talked to couldn't vote anyway; they had felony charges on their records.

That night a friend asked me about the new job-she wasn't a close friend and this was supposed to be the conversation where I happily answered that the job was going so well, that I was learning so much, that my life after college was turning out even better than I had hoped. Instead I felt a lump in my throat and put my hands over my face so she wouldn't see the tears in my eyes. There was an awkward silence. When I spoke my voice was small and muffled behind my hands.

"I'm so tired," I said. "I can't do this."

Want to read the rest of this article? Subscribe today to read this article in full online!
A reprintable PDF of this article is available only to subscribers.

Sarah Peterson (1999 Charter Class Krista Colleague) Sarah volunteered in Spokane with AmeriCorps prior to her move to Washington, D.C., where she worked at the William Penn House, a Quaker Seminar and Hospitality Center. Sarah recently graduated with a Masters of Divinity from Earlham School of Religion in Indiana and has returned to her hometown with her husband, Keith Sellers.

All articles © 2018 by The Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship.
Please contact us for reprint permission of 3 or more copies. We’d love to hear how you are using the article.

Back To Top

The Global Citizen Journal