What It Really Means to Be a Volunteer

IMG_0362  Look back on all you have been able to survive in life and remember that you are not now or never have been alone. It has taken many people to see you through your life from the candy striper that brought the flowers to your mother’s room the day you were born to the volunteer who wheeled your mom to the front door of the hospital for your ride home.  Looking back there were other helpers along the way that gave time to make your life a happy one.

The classroom was filled with lots of fun on those holidays when a parent-volunteer made sure the punch and cookies were ready at the right time and what about those parents who volunteered to run the snack bar at the high school basketball games or keep the scores?

There were church servers schedules that were made by church-volunteers (and your parents may have been part of helping) and doing the  Sunday collections or greetings at the services your church provided.

Look back at the softball coach who cheered as you won and the soccer coach who encouraged you at every game.

Remember when your mom needed “Meals on Wheels”.  A volunteer arrived to bring a fresh hot meal to her when you couldn’t and give her a little hug in your absence.

There are so many times when we look back at where we’ve been and see those smiles that we received from a volunteer, but what did it cost us!  What were they monetarily paid or compensated for bringing comfort and compassion to us?

The altruistic act of volunteering is an art. The unselfish demeanor of a volunteer is noteworthy and recognized by those served. In a selfish world, the big picture often gets out of focus and the real meaning of what it means to be a volunteer gets lost.

Often the volunteer gets infected with the negative chatter of the spoiled apples around. “Things change and change is inevitable.  Misery is optional…”  Don’t ask when that was first said, but it is ultimately a truth. When bitterness over change in the volunteer schedule or benefits robs you of the beauty of giving your best, accept the change, move on and let go of any resentments that are building up in you. Change in what you wear or where you work  probably does not change why you began volunteering in the first place.

If you stop doing what you have been doing, you will be missed. If you spoil the fun of what the others are trying to do, you will miss out on being a part of something beautiful! For those who love to give back, looking back is essential.  Ask yourself if all those volunteers you have met were worried about getting something back. What does it really mean to you to be a volunteer?


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