So­cial Di­aries

Com­ing Up For Air

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Society Scene - Palm Beach - - Editor’s Column -

What are the Con­tents of your life? What would ap­pear on its In­dex Page - its fea­tures, de­part­ments and col­umns? Would there be sub­stance or filler? And, would any­one re­mem­ber what’s read?

We live a hur­ried ex­is­tence. There seems to be lit­tle space or time. For many, 40-hour work weeks are a rem­nant of the past. Some va­ca­tion and be­fore you know it, sum­mer is over. It’s a Cliff Notes ver­sion of a life. Give me the great­est amount of rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion in the short­est pe­riod of time. Tick­ers adorn our tele­vi­sion screens. The con­stant flow of just-break­ing news, summed up in 10 words or less, stretches across the bot­tom of the screen. So, you know what hap­pened, but do you re­ally know? Where is the sub­stance of the story? Does it end up as scraps on the floor swept away at the end of your long, time-starved day? Or do you have time to turn the page or click on the link? It’s a dizzy round­about way to live. At some point, you’ve got to step off. You may fum­ble a bit when you fi­nally do, but the bal­ance will come and you may just find a life that is a la you.

It is for this rea­son that this is­sue of So­ci­ety Scene is so spe­cial - its en­tirety is ded­i­cated to vol­un­teerism. Our first-ever “Vol­un­teer Guide” in­cludes fea­tures spot­light­ing five in­di­vid­u­als who have har­nessed their en­ergy to ben­e­fit the com­mu­nity and oth­ers in need. In a world of grow­ing to-do lists, some­how they have found time to forge re­la­tion­ships with causes they hold dear to their hearts. Each one’s story is dif­fer­ent, de­fined by a piv­otal mo­ment - tragedy, in­spi­ra­tion or kind­ness.

The word, vol­un­teer, de­rived from Latin, can be trans­lated as “will” or do­ing some­thing out of one’s own free will. When I was a teenager, there was a fam­ily who lived down the street from us. Their lit­tle girl played with my younger sis­ter. When the girl’s mother fell ill and died, her fa­ther was left to raise the girl alone. My mother soon took the girl un­der her wing: sewing her clothes, help­ing with home­work and hav­ing her join our ta­ble for din­ner most school nights, while her fa­ther worked. Dur­ing that time, she be­came a part of our fam­ily. For my mother, it was the nat­u­ral thing to do. It was out of her own free will that she “moth­ered” this child in ad­di­tion to her own. Acts such as this may fall be­neath the um­brella of what it means to vol­un­teer.

Peo­ple may not be “of­fi­cially” af­fil­i­ated with an or­ga­ni­za­tion or cause, but the way they choose to live their life is a re­flec­tion upon who they are and what they be­lieve in. In the words of Ae­sop, “No act of kind­ness, no mat­ter how small, is ever wasted.” Just think, the smile you have for a pass­ing stranger may lighten a bad day. The pa­tience you show for the slow pace of an el­derly per­son, the cry­ing of a baby, or the ner­vous­ness of a new em­ployee all de­rive from your free will. It’s a choice. So, choose to live. Make the Con­tents of your life full, give it sub­stance and come up for air

SO­CI­ETY SCENE Ed­i­tor Kim­berly Springer

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