I mean really, how's life?
Having a good day? a bad day?
Things on the upswing or down?
Feeling happy, joyous, glad?
What about frustrated, sad, angry?
We all go through these ups and downs: it's the way of life.
Without the down swing how can we truly appreciate the upswing?
So many cliches I could quote.
Most of you know that I have long done various types of volunteer work; that in some way my life simply doesn't make sense unless I'm giving back. I; like most of you certainly do not have an excess of cash to throw around but - busy as I am I can always (as could most of you if you thought about it) find time to volunteer and it makes me more whole.
Well - I am volunteering with a new group that does hot meals at a church every third Saturday in Lakewood. Today was our second meal but the first time I could make it (even for just a few hrs where I really just greeted, cleared tables, dried dishes [and took home all the cardboard recycling - would you expect anything less? ha!]).
Our group served just over 50 people today (and was able to give take home meals to everyone who wanted something and donate certain leftovers to another church that does hot meals). The church had acquired donations of toothbrushes, bar soap and body wash that we were lucky enough to be able to hand out today as well.
You really get 'put in your place' (does that sound bad? what I mean I guess is - you really get a more true perspective) about your own woes, hardships and 'bad days' when you see people wholly thankful for a hot meal and basic hygiene supplies.
While clearing tables I overheard a couple talking about their friend (and they were there with their three children) who is living in a storage unit and how she felt so bad and wanted so much to be able to help him. She's there out of need and for even just part of the time she's receiving help for herself and her family she's wishing she too could help another. I've seen a friend of mines' mom at both meals (first meal I just stopped by to drop stuff off), today I saw a guy I went to high school with: as patrons to the meal. Several of the meals' patrons helped clear tables and collect salt/pepper shakers etc.- to help us. All were very grateful and said so; made sure they did.
So - do I think because I can pay my bills and go to the salon and buy clothes once in a while and grab a bite and a beer with friends when time permits - that I am not allowed to have a 'bad day'? No - perception is reality and woes tend to be comparable to lifestyle etc. We're not wrong to have bad days - what we need to remember is to be grateful, that realistically they're just probably not that bad.
And really it's all about perspective. About getting it, keeping it and keeping ourselves in check.
I hope that everyone takes a quick snapshot of their own life and realizes that they have time or money or talent or goods to give. Once a week, twice a month - once a month. There are plenty of people and organizations that need you. Figure out your passion (animals, visiting with the elderly, homeless etc.) - hunt down a group that needs you and do something! If you can read - teach it! Play a sport? Find an organization that caters to kids and coach, give blood; do something and teach giving to your kids and grandkids!
Remember too that giving is never selfless (really - think about a time you gave where you didn't feel at least kind of good!). I guarantee you you'll walk away feeling glad you were there and feeling (while probably a little like your heart is being ripped out because you can't just fix it all...) a little bit better about your own life and circumstance.
Just a thought...