Why Volunteering is Important to Me
As I look out the window of my craft room, a soft rain is falling. The house is quiet. My son is up at the park, and my husband, is out helping a friend with landscaping. I love this time, the silence and the serenity that it brings. The chance to think big.
It is at moments like this that I reflect and count my blessings, and there are so many. A loving and devoted family, caring and supportive friends, a wonderful home in a terrific community. A new and growing business that is only at the beginning. And that only scratches the surface.
We are each shaped by our unique history and circumstance. No one else can see or understand it the same way that we can as individuals. And in that view, there is a balance sheet for each of us. It explains how a child of privilege can find life dispiriting and oppressive, while a person of modest means is infused with enthusiasm.
I am profoundly grateful to have a big, bold, beautiful life. Like anything, there was luck and circumstance. And there was also conscious decision, focus and grit. I wanted a certain kind of life, and in adulthood, with priority, hard work, and risk, I have taken many steps toward it. I’m living the payoff.
But amid accomplishment and contentment, there is a void. At some point, no matter what our station, each of us will eventually ask, “Is this all that there is?” When I first confronted the question, years ago, it was candidly perplexing. Having worked so hard and realized achievements, the question felt shallow. That is when I truly found and understood the power of volunteering.
As the child of immigrants, and a proud daughter of Texas, I am continually awed by the power, wealth and abundant opportunity that is available in America. But profound human need, which is as old as humanity itself, far outstrips the capability of even the richest of nations. That is where each of us, as individuals, can join – collectively – to comfort despair, to ease suffering, or offer hope. And in so doing, we take part in something larger than ourselves, something that connects us together, not as family and friends, but as people. It is the elixir that fills that void in purpose, when we occasionally bump up against the limits of our day-to-day lives.
So, I invite you to try. Join a church bake sale. Tutor a student who needs extra help. Comfort a hospital patient with no family. Buy groceries for a shut-in. Our path to volunteer is as big and varied as the problems themselves.
Trust me that you will find your true nature, gain perspective, and feel better about both yourself and life if you Do.