I spent last night volunteering and it made me feel really good. In this case, I volunteered to make telephone calls for Barach Obama at the home of someone I didn't know, but who lives in my neighborhood. I'm not sure how much I accomplished, but the camaraderie was very satisfying.
In the last year, ever since my mother died, I haven't volunteered. When she was alive, I spent the last two years of her life playing my Autoharp and singing at her assisted living facility once a week. Once she died, I thought I'd be able to go back there and sing again, but it makes me too sad. And while I could do the same activity at another senior facility, I spent so much time playing and singing for my mother that I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to do it again without feeling sad.
Still, as Dr. Bernie Siegel says in 101 Exercises for the Soul: A Divine Workout Plan for Mind, Body, and Spirit, "Volunteering is very important for creating a meaningful life. It helps you define what you are here to accomplish by actively doing it. For this exercise, choose one way to volunteer in your community, and make it more than a one-shot deal. Think about what the right form of service is for you. What skills do you have? What do you enjoy doing? Who would you like to serve?"
When I re-read this chapter, I realized that rather than continuing to wait and hope that I can sing for seniors without feeling sad, it's time to find another activity. As some of you know, one of my dogs died last December, and the other died a few months ago. I miss them terribly, but I promised my husband that we'd wait for at least six months to adopt another dog.
So...I've decided to volunteer my time at a local animal rescue organization. That way, I can walk dogs, which I miss doing, and have dogs to love, which is something that makes me feel good.
What volunteer activities do you do? How does it make you feel?