You see, every year, I disappear for a week into another world. It’s a world known to only a few, and entry is limited to even fewer. The funny thing is, there’s no attempt to keep this world secret, neither is anyone actually refused entry. (I mean, I’m telling you about it right now, aren’t I?) It’s only a classic case of many being called and few showing up to be chosen.
The world I speak of is the world of volunteering – in this case, on an annual weeklong teens camp.
You’ve probably volunteered before: with friends, in your community, with a religious group. And that’s great. But what I’m talking about here goes a little beyond that. I’m talking about volunteering in a deliberate systematic way. I’m talking about taking volunteering as seriously as school or work.
I’m on the camp right now (I uploaded this last week, for publishing today) and I’ve been volunteering like this for the past six years, a parallel career of sorts (with all the attending ups and downs). And the most amazing thing to me is how many people are not.
The commonest reason, of course, is: “I don’t have the time.”
It’s a totally valid excuse, too, except that the whole point of volunteering is the sacrifice. All work demands effort, and done long enough, will drain you. But the best kind of tired, I think, is the tired that comes from doing work worth doing.
And what better evidence that a work is worth doing than your doing it for free? And not just now and then, but over and over? And anyway, how do you intend to find meaning if you can’t give up time and money for what matters to you?
So let’s hear it: what opportunities to make a difference are you holding back from?
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