I once heard there is no act that is truly altruistic. Meaning, there is nothing we can do for someone without really gaining something in return. Volunteer work is based on the premise of giving without the expectation of returned benefits. However, in my experience there is no greater feeling in the world than donating your time, energy, and heart to make a difference in the world.
The difference made through volunteering has the potential to change the life of another living being and make the world a better place. It also has the potential to change the life of the volunteer. As we lend hand to change the world, we create a ripple effect as others begin to pay it forward as well. Of course, not everyone will pay it forward. However, there will be some that most certainly will and others will take notice and begin their own ripples.
I learned first hand about the power of volunteer work on a trip to India many moons ago. I spent time working in a slum school for months. Days were spent teaching in the heat beneath a tarpaulin held up by bamboo. The children were eager for knowledge and even more eager for recess when they taught me new games. One afternoon after lunchtime, a small girl approached me and handed me a piece of chocolate. Knowing this small child lived in a tent and this was probably a very rare treat for her, I attempted to give it back. She pushed my hand back and hugged me as she whispered, “thank you”. My heart was never so full.
For the first time in my life I knew my path had led me to the right place. While volunteering day in and day out I was getting more in return than I could have ever given. I was learning the real meaning of love and gratitude. I was learning the joy of helping others filled my soul with love and light. I learned the importance of play and laughter. I set out on an adventure to help others. I did not know I would find so much within myself. There is still no greater joy to me than the times when I volunteer. It feels good to increase the amount of kindness in the world. These days we should be throwing kindness around like it is confetti.
Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash