This I Believe

Blue - Santa Monica, California
Entered on March 19, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
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Being dumped is something that I hate to admit it to but it happened. I was dumped by the man that I had loved for three years. He bravely left me a message on my answering machine at 4 o’clock on a Tuesday morning.

‘Sorry” he said, “I just can’t do it”.

The commitment, the promises, the love, the laughter, the life was all over, laid to rest in one lousy phone call.

The future loomed bleakly. I loved him so much I couldn’t even bring myself to hate him. Instead I lost myself in tears. For months on end I cried incessantly. I wallowed in my misery. It was something I learned that I was good at. Wallowing. It was all wonderfully sad and dramatic and I was blissfully unhappy.

It couldn’t go on like that. I couldn’t go on like that. I needed help!

That phone that had crushed my heart was the same one that I used to call a friend.

“I’m in the black hole of Calcutta” I said, “and I have to get out”.

His few simple words of advice changed my life in a way I could never have dreamed possible.

“Help someone else” was what he told me and that was that.

School On Wheels was the non-profit organization that I choose to volunteer with. I became a tutor to homeless children. Every week I went to the homeless shelter and helped kids with their homework, listened to their stories, dried their tears and laughed with them.

Academically I’m not sure how much difference I’ve made in these kids lives but I know that simply spending time with them was sometimes all they needed.

Recently, I gave a 15 year old boy that I’ve been tutoring for 2 years a project to do. I called it “The do a good deed for a week project”. He was to do a good deed everyday for a week, write down what it was that he did and how the other person he had helped had reacted. In the next tutoring session we discussed all of the things that he had done and he said that he realised how much he liked to do things for others to cheer them up.

The following week, he beamed a great big smile on his face when I came to tutor him.

“I did it again” he said excitedly. “The good deed project, and I told my teacher and some of my friends and now they’re doing it too”!

I was overwhelmed at this young mans generousity of heart and his willingness to learn.

I am proud to be in the company of these children who give me purpose, love, friendship and gratitude. They have given me renewed energy and love of life and they have taught me patience and forgiveness. These are the children who come from so little and have so much to give us.

In volunteering I have found the cure for a broken heart, for self pity and ungratefulness.

In volunteeting I have found purpose, strenght and honour.

I believe that doing something for someone else is the best thing that you can do for yourself.