People together

Australian volunteer Kylie Hinde at the Center for Disability in Development, Bangladesh, 2011. Photo by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade via Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-2.0

Australian volunteer Kylie Hinde at the Center for Disability in Development,
Bangladesh, 2011. Photo by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
via Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-2.0

“Adversity not only draws people together, but brings forth that beautiful inward friendship.”Soren Kierkegaard

Working together under difficult circumstances tends to strip away the vacuous and trivial concerns that we are too often preoccupied with, especially in affluent societies.  None of us want adversity or crisis, nor do most of us wish it on others.  Still, we find there are rewards for perseverance and cooperation when we team up with others to make the best of a challenging situation.

I’ve had the privilege of knowing many people who have donated countless hours of volunteer time working in a variety of demanding contexts, both in their own countries and abroad.  There’s a common expression that almost all of them say after such efforts: “I am so glad I had this experience – I will never be the same.”  Many return again and again to the people and places that capture their hearts.  Relationships forged while working together for a common goal transcend distance, and often last well beyond the initial encounter.

I have great admiration for those who travel far away, spend weeks on end, and often risk health or safety to help those who need them.  But we don’t have to take such big steps to find the bonds of fellowship that form when we work together to overcome obstacles.  No matter where we live, there are organizations working to address problems local to our town or region.  Most all of the groups are in need of volunteers, and would welcome your contributions.

Better still, you might be able to offer assistance on your own to individuals you know who are hurting or lonely.  Organizations cannot reach out to others without people, but people will always be able to reach out without an organization, just by caring and being a friend.  Depending on your personality type, schedule and circle of acquaintances, you may find one or the other of these methods of outreach to be more suited to you. Both are always in demand.

Whatever method you choose, getting past the initial discomfort you feel will be worth it.  The other phrase I hear from volunteers is one I’ve often been able to say myself with great sincerity: “I get back far more than I give.”

One year ago today:

The gift of crisis

 

 

12 Comments

  1. A point well taken Julia. One that hits close to my heart. :o)

    • Thank you, Patricia! I am so happy you like it. ❤

  2. raynard

    Thanks Julia for a different prospective. I don’t have a problem with the girl scouts .love my thin mints and shortbread cookies. Maybe that’s my kryptonite lol. Be blessed

    • Raynard, those cookies are definitely dietary kryptonite to me! The peanut butter ones are my downfall (both kinds). I’m just glad they didn’t have the Tagalongs around when I used to be in the girl scouts. Cookies cost 50 cents per box then, and once or twice I actually bought and ate A WHOLE BOX in one day with my meager allowance! And I still managed to be so skinny that people made fun of me. Those days are long gone!

  3. Julia, hello. Interesting subject…volunteering, giving back to others, pay it forward…
    Mother Teresa said it best, “God don’t ask great things of us, just small things with great love.”
    I’ve always enjoyed helping people.

    • Merry, I love that quote from Mother Teresa. It’s something we need to keep in mind, in our celebrity culture where we think only the big powerful and wealthy people can be a force for good. The small things we do with great love have tremendous cumulative power. Our “loaves and fishes” are multiplied beyond what we can imagine. God will give the increase when we give what we have to give. Thanks for being here tonight!

  4. LB

    True, true, true!! and I appreciate that you’ve emphasized that all volunteer work is important work! We need more people to come out and get involved in their communities (so it’s not the same 10% who do so much of it).

    • LB, if only people knew how much fun it could be, they would pitch in, and it would be so much better for the conscientious ones who do all the work. The more the merrier (and easier too). I am SO thankful for the volunteers that help to keep our communities running.

  5. “Organizations cannot reach out to others without people, but people will always be able to reach out without an organization, just by caring and being a friend.” This is so true….I belong to an organization but am able to do much more without them being behind my back. Organizations have their own criterias, agendas, priorities….people have their own feelings!

    • Thank you Fatima, I agree. No matter how much we support the goals of organizations with whom we volunteer, there are always times when they seem focused on issues that don’t really matter to us as individuals. It’s tough to bring a large group together and have group consensus on everything. Plus organizations often have PR, legal issues and other things to consider, which we are not as concerned about when we interact person to person. I enjoyed visiting your blog and I’m so happy you work with Kiwanis! That group has done so much for Matt’s confidence. He enjoys participating in their Aktion Club and being allowed to work on community service projects alongside his non-disabled peers. In fact, just recently he had a blast helping out at their annual Shrimp Feast. If you click on this link you will see him pictured there – he’s the lucky young man surrounded by lovely females. 🙂 Thanks for visiting here, and for your comment!

      • Lovely picture 🙂

        • Thank you, Fatima. I’m so happy to have you visit with us.

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: