Late Spring 2009
I've just returned from several hours at the Humane Society, where I try to volunteer every weekend that I'm in town. As usual, chores await me here at home, and a chunk of time has been taken out of the day, but there is nothing quite like the way I feel while I'm there, being a 'Dog Buddy' to the motley collection of canines. The sense of having given of myself far outweighs the downside of having offered up a few hours that I sometimes feel I really don't have enough of to give.
I've volunteered in a few other situations in my day, and I've learned that when I find the right niche for me, it's hard to stay away. It's as if I am compelled to show up not so much for those who will benefit from my being there, but to answer a need in my own heart and soul. I often tell people I do this more for myself than for the dogs, but I know that’s not the whole truth. I do it because I am advocating for those with no voice. I do it because I believe it is important for me to do more than simply take up space on this planet without trying to brighten that space a little. I do it because I believe not only that giving is just as important as receiving (which I've done plenty of in my life), but because giving enriches me. Truth be told, giving makes me feel good. It aces just about anything I can think of. And that's the need in my heart and soul that volunteering answers.
With every passing day, there is a growing need, no matter where you look, for people to give of themselves. Not just because other humans, animals, and the environment need our caring, but because giving makes us different. It makes us move beyond our own often-lopsided self-absorption; it asks us to prioritize in a way that answers to our higher selves; it softens us; it makes us more compassionate; it allows us to occupy a place in this amazing country on this precious planet in a way that shows that we know how blessed we truly are.
It's still a new year, with potential we don't even grasp yet. My hope is that we all find a way to give of ourselves and realize how healing and fulfilling that giving can be.