ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Sharing your time with others can change your life for the better

Being involved personally, I can tell you firsthand that touching the hearts and minds of others is a delicious entr?e to life's ongoing pursuits, and the benefits received far outweigh the little time it takes to share a warm hand or a friendly ...

Being involved personally, I can tell you firsthand that touching the hearts and minds of others is a delicious entrée to life's ongoing pursuits, and the benefits received far outweigh the little time it takes to share a warm hand or a friendly smile with others.
A few months back I decided to try my luck as a hospital volunteer. I had been thinking about it for quite some time, but it never really tweaked my interest enough to force me to pick up the telephone and inquire. Oh, it was a good enough idea all right, and I never disputed that for one minute. Many of my friends and people I have been writing about for years have made volunteerism an important part of their lives. But still, the idea just seemed so distant and besides, life is busy, making a buck and avoiding unnecessary experiences that take you away from the routine you molded for yourself.
I have to tell you, there is more.
Eight years ago I had a serious heart attack and very nearly met my maker, but that wasn't to be. I had bypass heart surgery and quickly moved on with my life with hardly a pause. I received a signal, on that cold February evening, that I didn't fully understand at the time. I was exposed to neighborhood volunteer first responders, wonderful people who give of their time to share a gift of caring, professionalism and obvious concern. These are truly wonderful people who, at a drop of a hat, enter your life and your heart and they make a difference. That memory continues to bring tears to my eyes.
We all watch volunteers ringing Salvation Army bells during the holiday season, but what we don't see is an army of volunteers who reach out into communities and neighborhoods every day.
In my case, I volunteer at a local hospital working primarily on the coronary and intensive care floors. I talk to patients and families, and I share my past experience offering comfort and confidence to others. By doing this I have given myself an opportunity to make things a little better for those who are going through some difficult times. The hundreds of volunteers that are doing a myriad of community services daily know exactly what I am talking about.
In a hospital setting, where the uncertainty can be devastating, patients and families enjoy talking to volunteers who don't pretend to have any medical expertise but have had, instead, the experience of going through the very moment that is tearing at their hearts. Sharing these experiences with others has been one of the greatest moments of my life. I walk out of a hospital or waiting room knowing I made a difference. Is there any better reward for the soul?
Volunteerism is something that doesn't have to consume your time and energy. It can become a flexible opportunity, a chance to actually gain a better knowledge of the daily workings of the community. It is an eye-opener, and the opportunities are endless. Think about it, volunteering just might change your life for the better.

What To Read Next
The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.