Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The True Nature of Volunteerism


Yesterday, I received an email from C.O.D.R.A. member Jim Merritt of Beaufort, SC. He shared with me the following:

"I heard this line in a message at church on Sunday:

‘You have to go into hell to bring people out.’

It occurred to me that is what we as volunteers have done. Entered the hell that the people of the Gulf Coast have been in. One by one we slowly are "bringing them out" and in doing so, as Christians we have shown who we are and what we care about: a reflection of Jesus showing his Love for our brothers and sisters."

I believe, as a therapist, that I have two choices. I can hang my shingle in relative safety at the side of the road and invite those who are "lost" to find their way out of the forest so I might help them. However, as a solution-focussed professional and individual, I also have enough respect for people to believe that if they could have found their way out, they would have by now.

Or, I can have the personal courage to go into the forest and lead them out. The forest, however, also shrouds my own demons and devils and so I am constantly required to take my own journey - in fact, the longest journey: the journey inward.

Such is the nature of volunteerism in a place like Pearlington.

There is a timing to all things and this is not for the faint-of-heart nor for those unready, any more than is personal therapy. It requires keeping one’s eyes on the horizon and not being bogged down with petty details nor other people’s "stuff." We are allowed to be human on this journey; however, then we are called to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and to keep walking forward toward the light.

This journey of volunteerism takes Faith and Trust in a Higher Power who has created a wonderful world, a world in which we may fully partake if we will just get out of our own way. I call this the Law of Allowance and that’s a whole other article. Suffice it to say that Jim Merritt is absolutely right. Some of us are called to a thing and we must allow it to unfold, for inside the journey we discover that the path always leads right back to....ourselves.

Volunteer if you will. Volunteer if you must. Volunteer if you dare.

I promise you no other reward than a journey back to YOU.

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