Thursday, February 12, 2009
No Deed Too Small
"Service is the rent we pay for living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time."--Marian Wright Edelman
I read this quote in a manuscript for a book coming out this summer called Lessons for the Living: Stories of Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Courage at the End of Life" It's about a man (author Stan Goldberg) who is diagnosed with prostate cancer who volunteers at a hospice and learns, well, lessons for living. I know it sounds maudlin, but it's really a moving book--the kind of story that stays with you for a while after you see it (like some movies do, though less and less these days.) Yes, it's sad, but since I've been worrying a lot about death lately, I found the book somewhat comforting. It all goes back to enjoying every day, every moment, and savoring the simple things like a spoonful of chocolate ice cream or the sight of blooming daffodils (not yet, but soon...)
Anyway, he uses that quote as a way to explain why he took on a volunteer project that would scare off most people. Helping others, being kind to others, is our true nature. It's hard for me to think this way sometimes when confronted with a group of loud teenagers or a demanding author. But it's something I want to believe. I could be doing even more to help others. I volunteer once a week with Linda, but that's such a small deed, it's hardly anything. But maybe it doesn't have to be specifically volunteering. It could also be my demeanor to strangers and my generosity with people I don't like.