Do Some Good: An Uneven Journey

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.

dental careI 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.


2 thoughts on “Do Some Good: An Uneven Journey

  1. Aunt Beulah, Please tell Janet that I’m afraid when we’re young and focused on ourselves we often think others should be volunteering to help US, so Janet was a pretty normal kid.
    A person is fortunate to have a guiding mother or a husband’s example and not everyone is that lucky.

    I think people often really want to help but they don’t know how or feel they have little to offer.

    All they need is to be asked, and to know their time and effort will make a difference..

    Heaven is for those who help strangers in their darkest times. A suffering child, whose parent has few resources or knowledge to help, puts both the child AND parent into a dark place.
    Thankfully people with open hearts step forward.


    • So many good thoughts in here, Mary. I agree that often people don’t help because they don’t know how or don’t think they can. It’s important that we remember to ask. And I agree that people with open hearts do step forward. I loved your comments.


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