I know I’m not alone when I say that the current state of affairs has left me sad and hopeless. My roommate/fiancé will be the first to tell you that I take it all very personally. He’ll come home to find me curled in a ball with my phone in my hand; drained from reading the news. I just want to feel like there’s something *I* can do to make it better.
In the coming week or so, I’ll write a blog post about steps you can take to get involved politically. In the meantime, I wanted to share a quick anecdote; a moment in my week that brings me tremendous joy when I need it most.
I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering at the Lincoln Park Community Shelter a handful of times since Thanksgiving. For a while, I felt strongly about not sharing my experience on my blog because I wanted my intentions to be completely pure. I didn’t want anyone to think I’ve been volunteering so that I could brag about it on the internet. I vividly remember a sermon my Rabbi gave when I was a child about good deeds meaning more when they were kept in secret.
Today, though, I came home on such an undeniable high. I just want to share how this opportunity has helped me so that the people in my life can find a similar joy.
My time at the church/community center always goes as follows: prepping, cooking, plating, (pause for a quick prayer), serving, cleaning. Just before cleaning and after serving, we get an opportunity to stand in front of the community we’re feeding so they can thank us. This is the best 10 seconds of my week. Hands down.
Since volunteering there so far, the community gives us a roaring applause. Sometimes there’s howling and whistling and standing ovations. We get a few shouted compliments. In that moment, I feel time slow down and my heart soar. *I* did something that helped even just a small room full of people for one hour. The whole experience is completely selfish because I leave feeling way better than when I came. I really think I feel more full than they do.
At a time when I’ve felt so completely powerless, using my own two hands for good has given me strength and hope. I’m so grateful to the Lincoln Park Community Shelter for welcoming me with open arms and giving me the opportunity to feel relief. To my friends and peers who share my feelings of despair, I encourage you to find an outlet that empowers you. Use your hands for good, even if it’s self-serving.