Shawn Smith was working one day at the Crossings Community Clinic when someone asked him, “Why do you volunteer here as a physical therapist?” Answering that innocent question really is the beginning of this story.
That day, Shawn went home and really started thinking about this in order to put an honest answer together. He had recently been reading a book by Simon Sinek titled Start with Why. The book really encourages the reader to find the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires them to do what they do. After some thought, Shawn’s response to the question was, “To give someone who is less fortunate than me, in certain aspects of their life, hope that someone truly cares and loves them.”
Learning to Ask Why
Helping others was just part of his upbringing. Shawn and his sister were reared in Miami, Oklahoma and raised in a Southern Baptist household. His grandmother was a huge influence on him – she taught Sunday School classes and made sure all the cousins were there. His grandfather was a deacon in that small town church, and they were at church every time the doors were open.
Once Shawn started thinking more about this, he realized we usually tell people how or what they should do, instead of asking people why. Others need to see us live the life of “why I am a Christian.” He has learned that our “why” is greater than man’s laws. In other words, we do it because we are blessed and want to pass on the blessings. Shawn says, “I’ve been blessed, and I want people to see that I am a Christian and walk out what I say!”
It isn’t always easy for Shawn to volunteer because of the time challenges, and patient scheduling and rescheduling. But when he sees a smile on their faces because they were able to walk around the block or their pain has lessened, the confirmation is huge. Shawn believes, “It is more rewarding than I ever thought it would be!”
Being a Blessing
Married to wife Lori (an occupational therapist), they have two children. He and Lori have volunteered together in Children’s Ministry, as well as other areas. He recently taught Sunday school when the teacher was out and really enjoyed preparing for it – and would be happy to fill in again any time. It doesn’t matter where you serve, but he suggests volunteering in an area where you are blessed and can be a blessing to others.
The greatest reward for Shawn is that his walk with Christ is deeper since he started volunteering at the Clinic. His life has changed for the better in his home life, as well as at work. He adds, with a smile, if any other physical therapists want to enrich their lives and answer the “why” question in their lives, they are terribly needed at Crossings Community Clinic and would be welcomed with open arms!
Written by the Crossings Volunteer Writing Team