Lending A Helping Hand (And A Caring Heart)

I watched the early coverage of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, occasionally wiping tears from my eyes and giving thanks for I would at least be in my own bed and have home cooked meals for spring break. Throughout Twitter, along with Facebook and commercials on television, I noticed a number that allowed you to donate money to the relief effort via text message. I really wanted to, but there’s something about only donating money (especially through an electronic device) that kind of leaves me wary; how do the people know that their money is not simply being taken from them?

I have always enjoyed giving back to others, even though for most of my life I felt like I took more than I actually gave to anybody. I dabbled in volunteer work during high school, but that was mostly for the sake of college applications, and it was more like helping out and sporting and community events. 

I care a lot about other people, yet at the same time, tend to wake up feeling rather useless; To be specific, I feel like I don’t do a whole lot of good things, as though absentmindedly it’s been all about me for the last nineteen years or so. During my first semester, a part of me really wanted to get involved with Dance Marathon, an organization the raises money for kids with cancer and than at the end of February, hosts one big event where everyone stays up dancing for over twenty four hours straight. I wanted to help out at the local senior center. I wanted to be part of the March of Dimes walk for babies, given that I was a premature baby myself. I wanted to go on alternative spring break trip. 

But still I felt myself saying the same words: I’m too tired. I don’t have time. I need to focus on school. 

The one time I feel like I actually did something for someone was back in eighth grade; It was a little after Hurricane Katrina hit, and a group of refugees would be coming to my hometown to stay in an old house for a little while, but it needed a little fixing up. So a bunch of us from my youth group at the time got together and basically gutted the place out (I carried a lot of boards and vaguely remember trying to kick down a wall…I don’t know how well that worked out). 

The best thing about that was knowing that I was blessing someone, but not just by writing a check or making some kind of donation. Don’t get me wrong, money is good; it helps organizations gather food, supplies, and other things they need for a particular cause. But I am a People Person, and often times I don’t feel satisfied by just giving money. I want to interact with others. 

I realize that I sound like I am beating myself up, probably more than I need to. Over the years, I have seen that the greatest accomplishments we’ll ever make in life are the ones that often we ourselves, and at times no one else will notice. I hate it when people say “I wish I had…..” and so on and so forth, when there are millions out there that have close to absolutely nothing. Personally, doing this kind of stuff helps me to keep things in perspective and not to worry about trivial things. 

One shouldn’t have to be a particular religion, ethnicity or gender in order to give; it’s something that is Universal, and can be done in the smallest of ways. 

The greatest things we do in life are often the things that go unrecognized.

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