Sunday, January 24, 2010

Material things seem so mundane after an enriching experience...

I am a huge proponent of volunteer work. I think it is one of the best ways to give back to the community. It doesn't often involve much monetary commitment, and can be one of the best experiences you can have on so many levels. There is a unique personal growth that happens from helping someone in a situation where nothing tangible is returned to you. The experience and personal aspects that are gained are far superior to any monetary my opinion!

That said, it has been a few years since I have done any volunteer work and I was definitely feeling the void. I have been interested in hospice work for quite some time and have had roadblocks for one reason or another. Well, I finally made it to the training this weekend; 18 hours of grief and death work...thats enough to drain even the strongest person! It was an absolutely amazing experience though, I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to be more comfortable with death. I am drawn to grief and love to be with people who can talk about death and who are ok with allowing that space for anxiety and discomfort. It was very honored to be in a room with such diverse and interesting people and be allowed to share in the emotions and growth. (I know Im being a sap here, but I was truly moved!) There is something amazing about sharing an experience with a bunch of people who are so different, but who have a common goal and outlook on life and the meaning derived from personal experiences. The people there this weekend ranged from first year computer tech students to practicing acupuncturists, where else do you get to share profound experiences with such a diverse range of people...for free?!Thats another great thing about volunteering, its free training and a free chance for personal growth. You can't beat that!

I am so excited to start working with patients. I know excited may not be the best word, but its just so amazing to think that I will be allowed into these people's homes during such a difficult and personal time. To me, that level of sharing and exposure is the highest honor someone can give you. Im so excited for the journey.
What have been your volunteer experiences? Does anyone else get as much joy out of these things as me?!


Grgg said...

I'm with you 100% on this one, and it sounds like you're going to have some great experiences at the hospice. It definitely won't be easy for you (the very nature of hospice work will make it very emotional), but you'll be able to do something great for people that so need a little happiness in their lives...

so CONGRATS - I look forward to reading about your experiences!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Volunteering for hospice is going to be such a special experience for you. You'll get to see a part of someone's life journey that not many others will witness, and families are always so thankful for hospice - at least I know our family was when my Grandma needed it at the end of her life.

I come from a pretty open family, so we do broach the subject of death/end of life. I know it's a taboo subject for some, but it's a part of your journey. I lost my grandpa last Feb and it's been so tough but I've done a couple of blog posts about it, which were so therapeutic. i am sure those posts might make some people uncomfortable, but it has been a help for me, and I will be posting another one around the anniversary of his death next year.

Anyways, I totally didn't answer your question. I love volunteering and really want to find something to commit to. I am waiting until I get more of a handle on my new job & then will look for an opportunity.

Oh, and I am driving up to Grand Forks this weekend for a annual college get together. I know that is your neck of the woods! :) Go Sioux!

Al said...

Speaking as someone who runs a couple of homeless programs that could not run without volunteers I would say good on you for sharing.

So little can make such a difference, and all benefit.

You sound like you have volunteered before. Don't forget that no matter how wonderful these experiences can be, and how much you can grow, they are still harrowing.

Make sure you take some time to look after yourself as well.

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