Hi! I’m Dani Musselman and I am the Chapel Intern of Mission for the Religious Life Community at Simpson College. I was the Chapel Intern of Justice and Mission for the Spring Semester of 2014 and I realize now that my decision to become a Chapel Intern was one of the best I’ve ever made. This fall I will be a junior at Simpson and plan to continue being very involved with RLC. This past semester has reassured me, once again, that attending Simpson is one of the greatest things to happen to me. I love the space, the atmosphere, and the community. I love everything about Simpson. It wasn’t until I attended Simpson when I realized that community is one of the most important aspects in my life.
For the past couple of years, I knew I was passionate about community. I read a few books that mentioned the importance of community so I figured it was probably pretty important. I began to think about the type of community that I was a part of. At Simpson, I really didn’t hang out with one specific group of friends, but many. I enjoyed my time at Simpson since the beginning, but the second semester of my sophomore year was when I experienced community the most. The first time I really experienced a loving community, and was aware of it, was when I became a Chapel Intern for the Religious Life Community. I knew most of the interns before I became an intern, but I got to know each person better every day. I first experienced community at the end of January, about a month after I joined RLC, my grandpa passed away. Immediately, interns were emailing me and texting me asking if I needed anything and they all volunteered to help me. When I returned, they all signed a card and shared their love with me. I carry around this card with me still today, and I still have many emotions overcome me when I think about the love I felt during that week.
Just recently I traveled on a May Term trip to Colorado for a service trip. Before we left for Colorado, we learned more about community and I figured out more about what it means to live in community. Playing an active role in a community doesn’t always mean that you need to serve the people in your community, but that you also have to be open to receive help from your community. Sometimes we are embarrassed to receive help from the community. We do not want to admit that we are not always perfect and that every once in a while, we need assistance. I thought about this embarrassment while I was in Colorado. The second day that I was I’m Denver I served food to the homeless at a soup kitchen. It was a great experience, and it was my favorite service site. I noticed the body language of some of the people who received food. Some people were perfectly comfortable receiving food and service. But there were some who were ashamed. You could tell by the short conversations that they had with you and the way they kept their heads down. A lot of the time my service is indirect it wasn’t until I directly served that I saw and realized the embarrassed behavior.
I thought a lot about this and it reminds me of how I often get embarrassed to ask for help. We all do. I didn’t want the other interns to know that I needed help when I lost my grandpa and I had to leave school for a few days. I didn’t want my professors to think that I couldn’t take care of my homework while I traveled to Kansas to clean out my grandpa’s house. The homeless sometimes do not want those who serve them to think that they cannot take care of themselves. Especially because, oftentimes, they might think that the people who serve never have to ask for help because they aren’t the ones being served. When in reality, we all have to ask for help. We all have to admit that we cannot always do things on our own. We owe it to our community to allow them to take care of us, just as we try to take care of them.
Simpson College ‘16