…and let it begin with US.
And let us begin with me.
I encountered a very confronting moment this week. I don’t know if I’ve told you about this yet, but I make sure to volunteer at least once a month. There is a lot of stigma around volunteer work and charity. Some people think we should call it out on the rooftops, because that way others can follow our positive example. I have also heard that humility is the most important, and that we must focus on improving our selves and not on changing others. I have to say I agree more with the former.
Shame is a such a harmful emotion! I don’t see the good in being ashamed of sharing our good deeds! So here I shout out my truth: I help people. I do it for them, and I benefit in return. The pleasure I get from helping them, which is major, and the pleasure I get from telling you about it, which is subtler, does not take away from the joy I bring to the seniors I visit.
I bring my guitar and sing songs with them. I listen to their stories and I let them convince me to tell them mine. It’s normally fun, and I leave with joy and love and sadness in my heart. I wish I could do more, but that is a typical human mind trap and I focus on the positive feelings of connection.
This week went a little bit differently. Instead of looking up the chords to “Jazz standards”, which I normally do, I had to google “cheapest towing in San Antonio.” Yep. I was stranded on the side of the road with a truck full of pre-packaged dinners destined for a neighboring nursing home. I got there to sing but they had a special program, a speaker giving a lecture on Zen Buddhism. I think they would have been happier singing, but I’m glad they were being enriched. Honestly most of the people I talk to there are already so Zen that they need more LIFE, more shaking-up, than chilling out.
So since I was there, I asked if there was anything else I could do. A harried orderly asked me if I had a clean drivers record, which I do. Then she said, Could you please do a delivery for me? The usual driver didn’t show up for work today and we’re swamped.
What they were so swamped with, I don’t know: Zentertainer (great new word I just invented!) seemed to be keeping the people verrrryyyy quietttt. Perhaps they were taking advantage of that rare silence to accomplish all the little tasks they normally don’t get to.
I hopped in the van and used my Waze to direct me there. It was only ten miles away and it wasn’t rush hour, which was why I agreed to do it. Then halfway there, POP! I heard a tire go. Then POP- another on! Apparently there had been an accident recently and they didn’t go a good enough job at cleaning up the glass.
I ran the air the whole time I waited, which luckily wasn’t even a half hour, so the food would’t spoil. The tow guy understood the food situation so he actually drove us to the center to drop off the food before taking us to a tire store. I asked him sweetly if he could drive me back for my car, and he did.
I saw it as charity going full circle: on that particular Saturday, instead of giving the service, I received it.