Year 8-Day 310: Today, I’m grateful volunteering is a true exercise in democracy.
I grew up in the 70's. We had to memorize the Preamble to the Constitution. I can still sing it today, thanks to School House Rock. I remember the concern over passing the Constitution Test in 8th grade... like Sharon Wahl would have tolerated any of us not passing. How I loved learning from that lady. She had a unique style... we feared her and respected her... and then, most of us loved her. She loved history. She made it come to life.
Ms. Wahl and Connie Bozell Hustedt are the reason I tested out of history in college. They taught the good, the ugly and the hopeful about our country. They taught it well. People in history came to life. Both of them always reminded us that the men and women who seemed bigger than life, were ordinary men and women, not afraid to do extraordinary things.
Our country was born after a war fought by volunteers. Yes, they formed an army, but if they weren't passionate about the cause, soldiers would bail at the first sign of discomfort. The heart of a volunteer pressed on through the heat, the cold and the hunger. I love that quote that says, "The Titantic was built by professionals; the Ark was built by a volunteer."
"Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in." - Anonymous
If we want to change the world, we won't do it in a committee. We will do it through volunteer efforts. 20 Years at St. Jude taught me so much about the power of volunteerism. Volunteers ran most events so nearly every dollar went to fighting childhood cancer. The power of volunteerism helped build St. Jude into the amazing hospital and affiliates it is today. The secret to their success... passionate volunteers.
When tragedy strikes in the form of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados or floods... church volunteers are often some of the first to arrive with help and hope. They are often the ones who stay, too, beyond the crisis. I will never forget Franklin Graham's honest response when a reporter set him up to speak negatively about the governments response to a hurricane. Graham showed grace when he did not take the bait. He simply stated (and I have paraphrased it), they were "grateful they didn't have to deal with the red tape. They could see a need and attempt to meet it. Immediately."
We change lives by what we give away. What is your passion? Explore it. Figure it out. Where does your community need what you have to offer. Just do it!
"And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’" -Matthew 25:40
Bob Goff would say, "Love does." Bob is right.
Today, I’m grateful volunteering is a true exercise in democracy.