My husband and I were talking yesterday about the people who do things without recognition. They aren't looking for praise or accolades - they just do something because it's needed or it helps someone.
Take the people who showed up yesterday at Dunwoody Nature Center, despite the frigid temps and biting wind. It was our monthly Hands On Atlanta workday, a fact in itself that is wonderful and amazing. Random volunteers show up one Saturday morning each month and tend to the unending chore list. Coordinator Martha Moore is the constant, leading the troops and never flagging in her commitment to do the right thing. This group included six Kohls' Department Store employees. They cut privet and ivy, laid mulch on trails, and even hung a wall cabinet in the office. Wow.
At St. Luke's Presbyterian Church, quiet volunteers take care of hanging and taking down Christmas decorations, refill children's worship activity binders with worksheets and crayons, keep Sunday School class members apprised of prayer needs and celebrations, move the baptismal font into position, clean the communion trays, and so many other necessities.
Last week, someone dropped a load of small bits of paper for about a quarter mile down Chamblee-Dunwoody Road and Roberts Drive, between the village and the Nature Center. I saw the mess as I went to work and decided I'd pick up a bag and start cleaning up. But someone was ahead of me. A woman with a large black garbage bag was stooping and clearing, steadily taking care of the mess. I don't know how far back the mess had started, but she was leaving a clean roadside behind her.
None of these "jobs" is high profile. But just imagine life without someone taking care of things, just because it's the right thing to do. For our family, "It's the right thing to do" is our credo and the deciding factor for many choices we make.
Volunteering is also an opportunity to step away from our own cares and worries. Between jobs, during stressful times, while trying to make a decision, or waiting for something to happen . . . volunteering can put things in perspective and open new options. Help build a house or knit blankets for stillborns while you're job-hunting. Pick up a rake or hammer while you're trying to make an important decision. Deliver a meal or make sandwiches for the homeless while you're waiting for a diagnosis or working through a broken relationship. Everyone hurts and everyone can help.
Choose to help. It's the right thing to do.