I am happy to share with you a guest post from Amy Lewis Faircloth who wrote the book, Wicked Good, with her sister Joanne Lewis. The book has gotten rave reviews and this is just one stop on their blog tour. I read the book in the better part of the day – I really could not put it down and even was reading it on my iPad which is distraction in motion. Kirkus Reviews calls it “A funny, frazzled tale of extreme parenting.” A great read – some inspirational words below from Amy.
How Volunteering Enriches My Life
I went to law school in San Francisco during the wealthy decade of the 1980s. My peers were getting wined and dined by large law firms in the Bay area and Los Angeles. A summer internship at a a big fancy law firm sounded sort of cool. One summer I applied and was requested to interview at a firm in Beverly Hills. They flew me down, set me up in a tony hotel on Rodeo Drive and arranged a day for me to meet their young rising lawyer stars. I had lunch with one of them. Lunch was in the firm’s dining room. This was not a cafeteria but a dining room with a dining table for 12 and its own kitchen and staff. I do not remember what we had for lunch, nor do I remember the man’s name or what he looked like. This is what I remember:
Rising Star: So what do you like to do up in San Francisco?
Me: I have been spending a lot of time volunteering for the Tenderloin Housing Project. We provide legal assistance to the homeless and people at risk of being evicted or otherwise losing their homes.
I smiled. He paused. He shuffled through some papers.
Rising Star: Hmmmm. It looks like you come from an affluent family. Why would you waste your time volunteering?
I do not remember how I answered. I probably mumbled and tripped over my words something about liking to help people. I probably felt foolish and inadequate. I know now that Rising Star was the foolish and inadequate one.
I do like helping people. And my sister likes helping people. But I would venture to guess that we both gain more from our volunteer work than the recipients of our efforts. Joanne volunteers at Tomorrow’s Rainbow, a farm of mini-horses, donkeys, sheep, horses, and goats which hosts children grieving the loss of a loved one in their lives. I volunteer at the Bangor Humane Society, an animal shelter which serves about 5000 animals a year.
Until you have experienced and shared the sorrow of others, it is easy to get overwhelmed by your own needs. It is easy to overplay the minor mishaps. You didn’t get a raise this year? Be grateful you have a job. You need to replace a garage door? Be grateful you have a home. Your teen age son gets in a fender bender? Be grateful he is alive. Volunteering has reduced the size of our needs and increased the size of our hearts. We feel needed by our organizations and in return, we need them. The small amount of compassion and attention which we dole out on a regular basis has enriched our souls by an immeasurable amount. I’d like to think that Rising Star, now close to retirement, had found something to enrich his soul.
Amy is the older sister who lives in Maine, loves her 2 sons and nephew, dogs, volunteering at the Bangor Humane Society, running, hiking, snowshoeing, surfing the web, her brown poodle Teddy, Lola, Angel, writing, reading, going to bed early, spending time with her friends and family, being outdoors when it’s nice outside and indoors when it’s not, editing Joanne’s writing.
Joanne is the younger sister who lives in Florida, loves her 3 nephews, her grey poodle Frisco, writing, hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, cooking, is a vegetarian, traveling, Florence, Italy, anything to do with the Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo, spending time with her friends and family, being edited by Amy.