For much of my life, especially in the last years, I’ve had a strong longing to want to help people. Yes, in my years as a paramedic I did help people, but that was a job so I didn’t really feel that counted deep down.
It’s hard to express, but I guess a part of me felt called in some way to do more: to give back to humanity or the world in a greater way. My heart always just felt pulled and doesn’t seem fulfilled unless I’m giving in some way or another.
Back where I used to live, I tried a number of times to join volunteer organizations, but lack of time or the unbelievable red-tape (surprisingly) to simply give one’s time to places usually just ended up turning me off. Why can’t someone just help? It was nuts. That happened here too when I called a the central volunteer place. I would have had to take a whole day off from work just to go to some ‘orientation’ to learn to sit with an elderly person so I could read to them? Seriously?
It seems nowadays someone’s good intent gets mucked up with liability and other bureaucratic nonsense that makes it unpalatable for someone to even want to give time. Or the volunteer expectations are too demanding, so it becomes discouraging.
And how does one even decide who is really more deserving of time? What constitutes need in someone else to help them in some way?
Today I had a bit of an epiphany about that very question.
Every day I go to work in a stressful and often unhappy place. It’s filled with overworked folks who complain, grouse about each other and can be extremely negative. They often have crabby looks on their faces, appear tired and run-down, talk about each other and generally don’t always seem to like what they do. Not everyone is like this, but the atmosphere could make Mother Teresa have at least one bad day a week in this OR.
So I thought: these people are in need much of the time. Anything they may have going on in their personal lives (and I happen to know many of them do), is only amplified by their misery at work. The pressure and stress at work wreaks havoc on some of them, even the best of them.
They get hurt physically, they get sick, have headaches, yell at each other, are depressed…it’s a mess. It’s actually quite sad to watch, I thought. It struck me today that this is the perfect place to do some positive work! I needn’t go any farther than my work place to do some good!
Actually, I started a while back by providing a big, huge box of candy for anyone who wants it throughout the day. Sometimes they have a hard time grabbing food in time, so this helps getting a quick snack. I also have a ‘medical’ stash of Ibuprophen, Tums, eye glass cleaner etc.
But the most important thing I am now concentrating on is being cheerful, kind and nice to people–even the most crabby. Taking into consideration what may be going on within their personal lives, piled with work stuff—it can’t hurt to try. I’m also doing a special feature in the newsletter where I will premier one person a month: Surgical Services Star.
No, I’m not going to Africa to save the world or even down the street to a nursing home, but these folks need something too. We are all human beings no matter how big or small our need. Touching someone else’s life in a positive way is simply a ripple that can’t be bad.
There is just so much negativity these days: on the news, on the blogs I read, in our work place, within families, driving down the street… I for one just would like to change it in myself. And if I can help change it in others, then I’ve helped change the world a little bit and I’m OK with that for now.
And maybe someday down the road I’ll change the world a lot.