The notion that we should help those in need didn’t come to me easily; though my mother tried.
“Janet, you know Mr. Gull is in the hospital and Mrs. Gull has three young children, right? Can you think of any way you could help her?”
“I don’t know; maybe send a get well card?”
“Or maybe call and offer to babysit free of charge while she visits her husband? Maybe you should go call her. Now. It would be a big help to her and a kind thing to do.”
Closing The Witch of Blackbird Pond and donning my martyr mask, I slouched toward the phone.
On my own after college, I slid into total self-interest. Busy establishing myself in a career and new marriage, I thought I had no helping hands to lend; so I donated canned goods to food drives, gave at the office, purchased whatever children were selling, and felt virtuous.
Several years after my first marriage ended, I married a man who made community involvement a way of life and was surprised that I didn’t. Because Joel worked longer hours than I and still found time to volunteer, my “I’m too busy” argument sound silly.
I heard about a non-profit organization that provided dental care to children based on their parents’ ability to pay. As a teacher, I’d known children who had difficulty learning because their teeth hurt, so I joined the board of the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition and was soon able to speak intelligently about operatories, fluoride treatments, and the cost of x-ray machines.
Best of all, I liked knowing that after a visit to the clinic, children in the town I call home fell asleep without toothaches.
I discovered that serving others in any capacity — volunteer coach, hospital pink lady, reading buddy — widens your social circles, enriches your life, strengthens your community…and makes you feel good.
Have some thoughts
about serving others?
I’d be interested.
Recap of Comments on Aunt Beulah’s Recommendations
Dawna said Aunt Beulah’s recommendations hit home with her because she has had similar thoughts. She also felt Aunt Beulah’s ideas will help her stay focused on aging well. This response tells me that Dawna is way ahead of where I was at her age. I’ve no doubt she will age gracefully.
Mary offered the following thought about developing your talents and skills without worrying about how others may judge your efforts: “Thank you for reminding me to just take joy in the project and let the future take care of itself.” What a wonderful thought; one I agree with, but sometimes struggle to maintain.