Tag Archives: rewards

Volunteering Has Its Own Rewards

When I was in high school, I decided that I was going to be a nurse because I always wanted to “take care of people who needed help and to bring some happiness into their lives.”  At that time, I hadn’t realized what a noble calling that was.

One of my nursing instructors looked just like this!

One of my nursing instructors looked just like this!

But I thought that perhaps I should “test” myself and see how I would feel and react to a hospital setting and experiencing being with people who were ill and/or disabled.  I was totally lacking in that sort of experience.

So, during my Junior year, and during the summer, I volunteered in the “Jewish Hospital for Chronic Diseases,” in Brooklyn, NY, a hospital/nursing home for chronically-ill and disabled patients, with room for hundreds.  (I don’t think it exists anymore.)  The setup was in very large wards, containing approximately 20-30 beds.  No private rooms.  This was a hospital for indigent patients.

The hospital building looked somewhat like this - really old.

The hospital building looked somewhat like this – really old.

Those who were able, participated in a patient-controlled and staff-approved social club, and they managed to arrange for their own entertainment.  They were making the best of their situation – some would be there for the rest of their lives (many were young people).  In all the time I spent in that facility, I hardly ever saw visitors for the patients, but they seemed to have accepted their lot in life and they seemed happy and joyous and capable of, yes, excitement.  (Remember, I’m thinking back to the time I was a young teenager, and trying to experience again, my feelings and perceptions.)

There was an organizer/leader – his name was Manny, and he had his “secretary” and “treasurer.”  Manny was the most social person you could ever imagine.  He was wheel-chair bound and was one of the most intelligent, jovial, thoughtful people I think I had ever, and have ever, met in my life.  He was suffering from MS.

man in wheelchair

If the patients smiled and laughed any harder, I swear their faces would split apart.

Manny immediately put me at ease and welcomed me so warmly.  I told him I was there as a volunteer and had scheduled myself to give at least 10 hours during the week and some on the weekend as well.  I made his day and many more.  During the summer, I devoted more.  Visitors were a treasured commodity.

I found myself feeling that I found a second home.  The best thing for me was the feeling of great joy that I felt, in the giving.  Yes, volunteering had its own, unexpected, rewards.

Volunteering is more than it's cracked up to be.

Volunteering is much more than it’s cracked up to be.

[All images from bingdotcom]

I Don’t Care What’s Happening Outside

I really don’t.  It’s been raining, drizzling, totally cloudy, and getting cold as the sun set right now.  I really dismal day.

It’s bright and sunny in my home.  I’m enjoying my day – doing things I like to do, watching my TV programs in the background.  Spoke to several people on the phone, followed the ducks and white ibises on the lake out back.

Generally having a relaxing one.  Yesterday was busy and tomorrow will be also.

I had an interesting and uplifting phone conversation this morning.  Uplifting for the person I was speaking with, but for me, also.  It was a win-win situation kind of thing.  This lady – really no more than an acquaintance, but someone I have known for many years – had asked me to do her a favor several days ago, and I had to mull it over – she had asked me to set aside my “principles” and go forward.  We chatted about different things, and then casually I told her I made a decision:  it was a positive one.  I said I would do it.  Well, as soon as I said it, I could hear the smile on her face – her voice showed it all.  Her pleasure came through so strongly over the phone.  And a strange thing happened to me.  Actually a few things happened to me.  I felt relieved; pleased; and surprised.  I surprised myself – I had stood on this “principle” for a few years;  I was relieved finally, that I went over that “hump” that I was avoiding for so long; and definitely pleased with myself that the whole affair was resolved.  But, most of all, I felt happy, as if I had given a gift that took me great time and effort and to finally wrap up with gift wrapping and a bow for a special occasion.  Giving had its own rewards.  Rewards totally unexpected.

Image credits:  openwalls.com; redorbit.com; flickr.com; vector