Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Better Late than Never

Greetings Friends,

I did something today I have never done before, which is why today's post is coming to you so late in the day. I embarked on a new occupation - volunteer.

I think the term "volunteer" is one many people are apt to misinterpret. To volunteer your time to a cause every so often is admirable; to agree to do it on a regular basis for an extended period of time takes patience and dedication. My degree of volunteerism encompasses the latter; because the commitment I made stretches out over the next 6 months.

I agreed to a volunteer stint at a very well known facility for seniors here in Toronto, and it is one I've had a connection to since I was a child: I played bingo there with my grandmother. Now, that may not be a very strong connection, but since then, I've always wanted to volunteer there. What I love about this place is that they celebrate the lives of seniors; it's not just a facility where people "granny-dump" their aged relatives because they've become too difficult to care for. There is a degree of respect, and yes, love for these people I have never witnessed elsewhere. It is a sight to behold, and it makes you feel wonderful when you watch the interaction between staff and residents. Even the outpatient programs are outstanding. My uncle participates in a few of them and he always tells me how valuable and enriching they are. For someone like me, going through some significant life-changing events, what better way could there possibly be to gain perspective than to spend a little time with people who have been through the whirlwind for much longer than I have? So far, it has been manna from heaven, and I expect it will get even better. What could be better than manna from heaven? When someone tells you they're glad they met you, and you have such a beautiful name and a lovely smile. When you can touch the life of an individual with the simple act of wheeling them back to their room, or allowing them to reminisce about bygone times, it warms your heart and gives you hope in ways you never thought possible. Give it a try; it truly is one of the easiest, most rewarding transformational activities that doesn't involve anesthesia or anti-anxiety medication. Really.

I'll be back Friday to talk about movies.


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