Whether you give out lunches in your home town daily to the elderly, or you have a blog that is all about how you want to help others through horrendous illnesses, whether it be mental, physical, or emotional... for the most part, when do you any type of event that is "volunteering" it comes from within your heart and soul.
Most of us "expect nothing" back. We don't expect a "pay check". For many of us, notoriety, fame, being "patted" on the back is really nothing we feel is necessary. We "GIVE" because that is what we want to do. That simple act of "random kindness" gives us feeling enough inside knowing we did something "extra" for someone's day. Maybe that door you held open for someone behind you, helped them put a smile on their face, in the midst of a terrible day. That "E-card" to a friend who is ill, who maybe overwhelmed, who may be feeling like life is a bit too much, and their comes that special card, just when they need it the most.
So, reflection back on my life and all of my "volunteering" even when I was 13 years old and was the only "Candy Striper" at the hospital at that time. Those days there taught me so many valuable lessons about life, people, the medical field, and gave me a chance to give of myself freely.
From there, whether it be a shoulder to cry on, a friend needing a lift due to their car being on the blink, sharing a cup of coffee with someone upset, just telling the checker and the guy doing the sacking at the grocery store, "Thank You!" and that you appreciate their help.
I've had to "overcome" some issues when it comes to I guess you might call it "pride". Before I had all of the joint issues, surgeries, Lupus, RA, and so on, I usually took out my own baskets from the stores. It was just something I did, and of course many of our stores now don't even offer the service. Fortunately, our local grocery store that is here in Texas always offers the assistance, which is a good thing. I know for the elderly people it is a huge help, and when I am having issues with my back, or joints having had surgery, or just not feeling well. It truly does help to have someone take the basket out and put your groceries in the car. A great example for me just a couple of days ago. I noticed our market was really busy. They were trying to keep up with checking and getting the merchandise sacked. So, at first I told them, don't worry about it, I will just take it out myself this time. Well, I should have allowed them to. First of all, the way the parking lot is designed, you are on a slight slope as you come out of the store. Of course that makes it a bit easier to push the baskets. But, when I have a huge bill of items, or heavy items, that basket will try and "run away" from you outside. I had a gentleman that had his two young children with him, stop and help me hold the basket that day. I was so elated to see we still have some awesome people in this world. I commended him with a huge thank you, and I also commended him for having his two kids, and they were younger children with him at the store. Often times, you don't see as many men with their younger children especially at the store. So, it was just an all around "thanks" for everything I witnessed there within a few moments of this gentleman.
So, whether it maybe reflection on advocacy work, or having someone help you out when you least expect it, for me, my reflections are on those that do some wonderful things and their not expecting a "thank you" for it.
My "hopes" are that I also continue to "share" a helping hand or a thank you. My goals are to become that "author and writer" of a book that truly will help others. Some of those things have suddenly within the last weeks came together.
Then there are many "detours" that come along, unexpected, that can delay all of those ambitions, hopes and what we feel we truly need to accomplish in our time here.
The chronic illnesses of course have all too often caused a delay in some of my goals, dreams and wishes. In fact, there are some of those things, that I may never be able to do again. At times that really bothers me. Yet, I also try and look back to remember when I DID do that thing, or I DID get to go to that concert, or vacation... or something as simple as now I am looking forward to being able to get away for a night, and have my Mom and I take a couple of hour trip to the Casino and possibly spend the night.
I also hope that my own health will hold out, so I can become a better advocate, activist and an Ambassador. I hope to be able to go back to Washington DC next March and once again "give voice" for ALL of us with these horrid arthritic illnesses.
I can also reflect on the facts that I feel I've "built" a very good repoire with the "non-profits" that I advocate for. Or really I should say I feel they have truly "taken me under their wing" and given me some amazing opportunities to be the advocate, activist, Ambassador and Volunteer that I want and will continue to want to be. So, I say a huge "Thank You" to all of those that are so incredible in the realms of health and helping others.