Thursday, November 19, 2009
paying it forward

A very odd thing is happening to me.... not only am I becoming the happiest I can ever really recall being (thanks to a lifetime of depression) but I seem to have a compulsion recently to.... volunteer. It's just weird.

Ok, volunteering in of itself is not weird. I believe it's a very noble cause and I have always admired those who did. But for me it's weird. I think the only real volunteering I did was in Israel in 2005, where we did some painting, worked a soup kitchen, and I helped at an animal shelter (where I cried and cried because strays are treated with such terrible disregard in Israel). I am admittedly lazy and selfish when it comes to volunteering coz I want my free time to myself to laze about.

But last week I volunteered to take in an abandoned pregnant cat, named Blossom. It defies all logic as I have neither the space nor finances to do so, but I couldn't turn away from the fact that this cat was facing the prospect of raising her babies in a Home Depot. So I took her in and now I'm awaiting the birth of her babies, after which I shall endeavour to find homes for her kittens (won't be difficult) and for her (much more difficult).

And then in my ridiculously happy mood I decided to finally follow up on a promise I made over a year ago to volunteer in a soup kitchen. Not weird right? Now what if I said it was in a mosque? This all came about when I befriended an associate in a Home Depot who was very happy to meet me, especially upon finding out that he knew my brother from when he was a rep like me, travelling and visiting Depots. Whenever I visited this store my new Muslim friend and I would get into fascinating political and spiritual conversations, as only a Jew and a Muslim can. It was a wonderfully open dialogue and a real effort to bridge the gap created by world politics and fanatics making a mess out of things. We asked genuine questions of each and sought real understanding. I *loved* visiting that store if for no other reason than to see my friend.

He has since moved up in the Depot world and no longer works in a store, but in the head office. So I no longer get to speak with him like I used to, but we have made an effort to email each other once in a while. I decided this week that I am finally in a place where I am ready to give back. I have had one of the very worst years of my life and am happy to say that I am coming out the other side of it. And I am better for it.

I'm ready to lend a hand and help others who are still in that dark tunnel. And if working in a soup kitchen this Saturday in a mosque does that, then great. If I happen to learn and gain something from the experience, all the better. I just know that I am looking to practice gratitude for what I have and stop looking at what I don't have or have lost.
The glass, as they say, is half full.

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