A few days ago I read an article about a 911 dispatcher in San Francisco who uses all her spare change to buy hats and gloves from secondhand stores. When she finishes her shift at midnight, she drives around the Tenderloin district and hands out the hats and gloves to the homeless.
Today I learned about folks who have started an organization in Peru that trains the handicapped to make jewelry, providing jobs for people who otherwise would be unemployable.
Each time I hear about a person or an organization that does this kind of work, it makes me examine my life. What am I doing to help my fellow man? What am I contributing to society? I help people whenever I can but I always feel that there is so much more I could and should be doing. I’ve often thought about joining the Peace Corps but I’m not so young anymore and I doubt that I could endure long-term the rough living conditions found at many of the Peace Corp destinations. I’ve even considered applying for on overseas position with the State Department or volunteering for a political campaign, but I doubt that I could handle the “politics” of either situation at this stage of my life. I’m torn between wanting to keep my life simple and wanting to do something that gives my life value. If I do one, must I give up the other? Perhaps the two goals are not mutually exclusive, but as yet I haven’t found a way to accomplish them simultaneously. Until I figure it out, I’ll keep looking for examples of how others are living a life of value, because at least it keeps me focused on the right way to be.