Coming Up For Air
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