I was 12 years old. I remember walking with my father, holding his hand, through the Mexican marketplace where silver and different types of jewelry were being sold. But when we wandered into a side street . . . I was shocked. It was my first introduction to learning that much of the world lives in ways so different from what I had seen up until then. The scene I saw that day included impoverished, destitute individuals and children—begging, handicapped, unwashed, and crying. The stark thought that came to my mind was, This is unacceptable. And at that very moment, I remember committing myself to helping in my own community. It was almost as if my old life was over, and it now began through a new lens.
When we returned, I started volunteering to help the people in East Palo Alto, California, very near to where I lived. At the time it was a very tightknit community but without resources or attention from the wealthy city of Palo Alto, literally footsteps away. Over the years, I became involved in serving meals in soup kitchens, crisis counseling, and working with individuals on welfare. It was the beginning a lifelong journey—the start of my continuing, deep love of serving others. Eventually I felt led to move into the global realm, which has even greater needs. For example, I've learned that 70 percent of the world lives on an annual income of less than $800. Knowing this allows me to live with a wonderful perspective of gratitude every single day.
Having grown up attending the Christian Science Sunday School, I knew it was important to view all humankind as loved by God. It was essential to know this not only in my heart but also in my mind. In reality, everyone is in a peaceful state of existence governed by God's care. Each one of us is the image of a God of love, a God who provides for all.