Haha! Does anyone remember Jack Handey from Saturday Night Live (SNL)? Well, did you know he is a real guy? Jack Handey is an American humorist. He is best known for his “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey,” – one-liner jokes, and fuzzy memories. The late Phil Hartman played the character on SNL – truly capturing the notion of not taking life or ourselves too seriously. You may ask, what does this have to do with Extreme Community Makeovers and volunteering? Not a lot, but I thought a good place to start – and here are a few of my own deep thoughts and warm fuzzy observations about volunteering light heartedly.
We all have our own reasons for volunteering, and I am sure most of our intentions are noble but, can and do our personal agendas and intentions get in the way of the spirit of helping, and service? I think sometimes, yes; how can they not…. we are human, and we are works in progress. We have rough days, weeks or months and can sometimes be over taken with stress, grief, worry or ego – the human takes over; we/I may become opinionated, grumpy or complacent in our service. As I drove around the neighborhood, I felt a sense of not making progress. I thought, we return to these neighborhoods time and time again, but I don’t see much change or progress….what aren’t we doing?
However, an afternoon spent surrounded by our wonderful volunteers shifted me back to my heart. Remembering that the only goal is not to aesthetically make these neighborhoods beautiful again; although a bonus if that happens. More importantly, the purpose is to bring people together to connect, lower the walls of difference, and to know that we need each other. It is through our acts of kindness and service we become compassionate and realize that each of us may be unique and have our traditions and culture, but truly we are all connected – we are one, and all of us want to know we matter, we are seen, and that we belong. Living life lightly, but deeply. The weeds may always grow back, but so will the flowers, trees, and grass….so much beauty!
Witnessing the Mile-High Young Professionals take on their work with SO much joy, and authenticity eased me back to my good place. Their interaction with resident Frank was a lovely example of caring and building bridges. Before embarking on their task, they took time to chat with Frank. They noticed drums in the garage and started up a conversation; one volunteer making a connection and telling Frank that he was a drum player, too. Frank has lived in the Westwood neighborhood for 30 years, and at the age of 37 learned how to play drums. He currently is a member of the band – Westwood Cats. Frank was delighted in our interest and played the drums for us.
I also recalled my conversations with long time ECM Extreme Volunteers Connie and Eric. Both Connie and Eric consistently showing up with a warm vibe, big smiles, and the intention of selfless service. Such wonderful examples!
Yes, what ECM does is serious work – hard work from our bodies but serving from our hearts. “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” ~ Mother Teresa
Enjoy some fun quotes from Jack Handey ~ 😊
“The other day I got out my can opener and was opening a can of worms when I thought, “What am I doing?!””
“Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself. Basically, it’s made up of two separate words – mank and ind. What do these words mean? It’s a mystery, and that’s why so is mankind.”
“I hope if dogs ever take over the world, and they chose a king, they don’t just go by size, because I bet there are some Chihuahuas with some good ideas.”
~Lisa Baude, Communications Team