Saturday, April 29, 2006

The "I" in Community

I came home from my part-time job yesterday to a beautiful bouquet of pink roses...courtesy of my best friend. I will admit, that I have not been the easiest person to live with as of late and, unfortunately, she ends up "feeling my pain" the most. However, through it all she understands that I am going through a tough time right now (hence the roses to cheer me up) and has been exhibiting the patience of Job...and for that I am eternally grateful!

But who would have thought that a bouquet of roses would bring about such introspection...

There was a time in my life when I thought flowers were a waste. I thought: why spend money on something that is just going to shrivel up and die? My feelings changed once I was able to appreciate the beauty of the flower while it was living - its vibrant color and pleasant fragrance - and when I was introduced to preserving flowers so that I could continue to enjoy them...a long lasting reminder of a fond memory or kind gesture. It was the latter of those realizations that made me think...

What am I doing to ensure that my life - what I have done and stood for - will be preserved?

Now, I don't mean "preserving" my life like the fantastic Walt Disney myth/rumor/urban legend! I mean, what am I doing so that when I die, my life doesn't get tossed away like 95% of my bouquets of flowers do, but rather is one of the "chosen" bunches of flowers that is deemed beautiful enough to preserve? I arrive, finally, at the topic of today's post (it sure did have a big lead in...didn't it?)...

Where is the "I" in community? By the "I" I mean: me. By the "community" I mean: community service.

Growing up my mother stressed the importance of giving back...enforced it even. From the moment I was able to stand, I was volunteering in my community. Whether it was plating meals at Thanksgiving Dinners, packing toys for the Christmas Toy Drive or bagging groceries at the Food Bank...I was there to lend a helping hand. Now? Not so much...and that is just plain ol' unacceptable because my Momma taught me better than that!

To dismiss any confusion, I dare not suggest that I serve my community merely for selfish reasons. My sole reason for giving back would be to help those that are less fortunate than myself...to make someone's life better by my actions. But as a result of that - how beautiful it would be to, when I die, be remembered not just for being the life of the party or the one that always made you laugh...but as the one that gave of her time so that other's might eat, so that families would be sheltered, so that children would be clothed, so that injustice would be fought. Now THAT, to me, is self-preservation.

I also think, or know, that lately my life has been very "me" focused...MY feelings, MY finances, MY troubles...MY divorce (cry me a river Justin...I mean, really). I think it would do my soul and spirit a whole heap of good to put the "I" back into community. How ironic would it be if concentration on the lives of others led to clarificiation of my life's purpose? But, if not that, or anything else, it would be a constant reminder that: there but for the grace of God go I!

So...I must act! I must do some research on volunteer groups/organizations with which I can associate. Even if I begin by dedicating one Saturday a month...it is more than I am doing now. I want to make a difference. I want to be an active participant in making this world a better place. I want my life to be like my bouquet of pretty, pink roses...beautiful enough to be a part of the "chosen" bunch!


"If I can help somebody as I pass along.
If I can cheer somebody with a word or a song.
If I can show somebody that he's traveling wrong,
Then my living shall not be in vain."


20 Comments:

At 10:58 AM, Blogger chele said...

I believe that you are on the right track. We all go through those blue periods. I call them the "why me?" stages. I'm a living witness that once I took the focus off my troubles and did something productive my problem was a lot easier to bear.

 
At 12:39 PM, Blogger Darbs said...

@ Chele: Yeah...I think I am too...or atleast I hope.

 
At 2:01 PM, Blogger TTD said...

grr! >8-{ i know i posted a comment.. and it's not here...

lemme think.. what i say??

oh! you'll be able to do so b/c ur volunteering b/c you want to.. not b/c you have to.. that makes all the difference in the world!

 
At 7:54 PM, Blogger Roger said...

It's hard to feel sorry for yourself when you are too busy helping others. This is a great idea. Props to you.

 
At 12:04 AM, Blogger Darbs said...

@ TTD: They say the memory is the first to go with age...LOL. And you are right...there is a huge difference!

@ Angela: My thoughts exactly! Thanks for stopping by...again :o)

 
At 12:44 PM, Blogger Soulfull said...

Hey Darbs! I'm totally feeling you on this post. I found a good place to start is this website called Network for Good (http://www.networkforgood.org/volunteer/). I usually do a lot more donations then volunteering because of my crazy schedule, but anything one can do to help someone else is always better than nothing. :)

 
At 1:43 PM, Blogger Darbs said...

@ Soulfull: Yes, something is better than nothing. Thanks for the info. I'm going to check out the site.

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger LUVIN ME said...

Excellent post.

A lot of things in this world would be better if people took the time to look in the mirror and see what's missing.

 
At 1:58 PM, Blogger Actor Smurf said...

what is the secret to preserving life?

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger The Sarccastik Variable Why said...

this world needs a lot of darbs running for office...

 
At 12:39 AM, Blogger Darbs said...

@ Luvin: Thanks...and I agree!

@ Actor: Don't know that I know the secret...only what I believe would help me leave my mark...my own personal legacy.

@ Sarccastik: Naaaah...ya think? Whether it does or it doesn't...that was a heck of a compliment...thanks!

 
At 3:58 PM, Blogger Nikki said...

Great post, Darbs! Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.

 
At 6:00 PM, Blogger Darbs said...

@ Nikki: Very well put...I like that!

 
At 8:12 PM, Blogger Tracie B. said...

what a great analogy! you're so right :)

 
At 11:33 PM, Blogger Darbs said...

@ Tracie: Thanks! I'm thinkin' I might be on to something :o)

 
At 8:28 AM, Blogger Knockout Zed said...

When you pick a community service project you want to be involved in, choose carefully. The wrong one will lead to early burn-out!

KZ

 
At 5:59 PM, Blogger Darbs said...

@ Zed: You are absolutely right about that...hence my decision to research before I jump into anything. Thanks for that input!

 
At 3:19 AM, Blogger Sangindiva said...

This was beautiful, moving , fantastic post!
It not only spoke to you it yelled at me :)

I have been very self absorbed lately as well-
and I used to voulenteer ALL THE TIME!
I was so much happier and dare I say it... grateful.
Thank you for this reality check...
You are already a "chosen" friend of mine :)

 
At 10:56 PM, Blogger Darbs said...

@ Sangin': Thank you, thank you, thank you...my friend - big huge smile and a big ol' ((((((HUG)))))))

 
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