Tag Archives: volunteer

A Journey…

journey-jpeg

This idea has been percolating in my head for a bit now and I’ve even been outlining.  Can you imagine? A pantser like myself actually outlining and mind-mapping?  It was fun, in fact.  It’s always been about the process.  Surveys done in social science classes, experiments and research…now you’re talkin’!

So, here goes.  We, dear reader, you and I, are embarking on our very own journey starting right here, right now (insert earworm here, never mind…I did it for you).

It is my wish that together we will help one another find hope in daily moments.  There are so many opportunities to not be humble or optimistic or purposeful or energetic.  Then again, there are so many little, everyday moments to find in the most obscure, random, downright surprising spots that I have been inspired to share them with you and ask you to share, too.

Do you have an unusual experience or nugget or story that seems to defy all reason, but still inspires you (and others) to not lose faith? Please share it here.

One of the places that seems to have sparked this journey for me is hospice.

My dad was put on hospice following a surgery gone wrong.  It allowed him to go home and be with family when he passed.  Fast forward several years and my mother was also put on hospice, but in a facility as her dementia had progressed to a point where she needed more care than she could get at home.  However, she was put on not because of some horrendous diagnosis, but because of a factor called “negative caloric intake”.  In other words what she was able to eat wasn’t doing her any good nutritionally.  Therefore, the powers that be thought she was “not long for this world” at that rate of speed.  She fooled them.  She ramped up her eating again and did something I didn’t even know was possible. She “graduated” from hospice.  And, in fact, when she did finally pass away, she was not on hospice.

So, both of those instances involved examples of hope.  Dad’s allowed him to be at home with loved ones in an environment he’d helped to create taking some of the powerlessness out of it for him and preparing him for the next step in his journey.

Mother’s was educating me (at least) that this was something that could also be overcome and was not a done deal or a “given”.  God still had the reins here, not us.  Humbling, to say the least and hopeful that she would get stronger and healthier (which she did for a bit).

Since then, I have begun volunteering with hospice myself and it is amazingly rewarding and hope-filled.  The wonderful folks I have had the privilege to meet are veterans who have, in some capacity, served our nation in the armed forces and we are now getting a chance to thank them for their service and sacrifice.  There have been veterans who served in World War II and some much younger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Some are at home and just look frail, not truly “sick”.  Some who are fully aware and others I have heard of who seem to not hear a thing.  The one thing throughout that resonates is that the word HOPE is within the word HOsPicE.  It came to me one day by Divine Intervention no doubt, but just stood out in vast relief and has stuck ever since.  And I feel so lucky to be able to volunteer with such a terrific organization. It has the element of the military which I have such a place in my heart for (being a military spouse will do that to you) and being the beneficiary of hospice (by way of both parents) that it seemed like a perfect fit.  Couple that with a terrific angel of a volunteer coordinator and you’ve got yourself a winner!

What sorts of experiences have you had that were wrapped in Hope when it seemed like that would be the last emotion to be present?

I hope you have enjoyed this session of our journey and I look forward to our next leg.

 

Spring?! Gimme a Break!!

Well, yesterday was Easter and we had about 5 inches of snow (the most we’ve had all season) so it hasn’t felt much like Spring around here.  Although I was reading the paper the other day and it carried a story from an LA reporter who was chomping at the bit to report about the horrendous escapades today’s college kids experience on “Spring Break”.  It was quite a large article and was, as expected, rather depressing focusing on how much kids drink and then don’t use good judgement (to put it mildly). 

Well, that got me thinking…what about alternatives to the booze and bods Spring Break?  Then I saw another article in a later edition of the paper (buried much deeper and not garnering as much space, unfortunately, but there nonetheless) about students working in New Orleans to help rebuild the city on their Spring Break. 

So, I decided to do a bit of research on alternatives for kids as well as adults.  One such adult has always stuck with me.  Catherine worked with me at a dot.com in the boom phase and used to take her weeks off at Camp Sunshine  http://studenttravel.about.com/od/springbreakvolunteers/qt/alternate_sprin.htm in GA.  I was so impressed with that.  And to further raise her stock in my estimation she married a wonderful guy we both worked with — Kudos to both Cat and Mat, but I digress!  

I found multiple listings when I queried “alternative Spring Break” and “volunteering vacations”.  Cheap tickets even has a section on their site.  Here’s hoping you, too, will be inspired to do something for someone else. 

http://studenttravel.about.com/od/springbreakvolunteers/qt/alternate_sprin.htm

http://www.charityguide.org/volunteer/vacations.htm

http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Savinganddebt/Travelforless/P87894.asp

Enjoy the daffodils!