Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Day Off

I'm off today, yet I rise before the sun.  I usually do.  I say "off"... but I don't actually have a paid position, I'm a volunteer.  I am a 50 year old female with chronic pain, and I am disabled.  I have been since 2001.  Prior to this I was a substance abuse counselor.  The transition from being a full time employee to a disabled person, was extremely difficult.  People always introduce themselves by what they "do".  In this society - we are defined by what we do for a living.  I had now lost that because of chronic pain.  I did not realize how much, nor how deeply this would affect my life.  It would take several years for its impact to settle into my soul.  In all actuality, I still struggle with it today.  I have had to learn who I am, all over again - yet in a much deeper and on a more spiritual level.  I tell folks, we are human beings, not human doings.  Most folks don't really understand however, it is one of those things --- one has to make the transition to fully comprehend it.

I've found that most everything in life is as such, if we don't go through it - we hardly give it much thought.  As is with trying to get people to volunteer their time.  It has brought such meaning for me - but my life prior was lacking.   It is hard to find meaning when one looses ones life's work.  I've been searching for a long time.  I suppose that is the deal about life... the searching.  I tend to think that we all do it on some level.  I have found tremendous meaning in my faith, and my church, however I believe that this just makes me fortunate.  Some never find this or are never satisfied with what they find.  This is because of how Christianity is presented.  I was what I call a "low level" Christian for most of my life.  I was preached to as a sinner - and fought my way to salvation.  I kept feeling like I "hoped" I was doing the right thing.  I now know a much more excellent way.

At any rate - I wanted to write about volunteering and the organization that I have come to love.  It isn't just the organization -- it is the  people that are involved.  Wonderful humans, with a beautiful vision.  The organization is Cape Arrowhead, a nonprofit,  and it provides all sorts of services for Veterans, persons with developmental disabilities, and the autistic.  We have assorted camps for this populace - to provide fun and learning.  We assist with housing, employment, transportation, mentorship, and all sorts of things in between.  We are now in our fund-rasing time of year.  It is a challenge to try to come up with ideas for things that might sell - and to try and raise funds.  It is especially difficult when times are hard such as they are now for many people.  We currently have a capital gains campaign where we are asking folks to give 20.00 - and if we could get just 20 persons - this would be 20,000.00.  It would provide more than enough to get us through the year with our activities, camps and all.  We might even be able to have some paid employee's!!  We are in need of a corporate sponsor, however we have not gotten this far.

We help Veterans.  We help people with all sorts of disabilities.  We try in a multitude of ways to improve the quality of this populaces lives.  Many Vets come home and have no home.  We try to find them housing and employment.  We have equine camps to help them with the transition.  It is called "Warriors in Transition", and I can say personally that it is a wonderful experience.  I have been through this, myself.  It aids anyone whom has experienced trauma.

I love this organization.  I have put my heart and soul into it.  I applied to be a mentor, but not being a veteran myself, I have had to find other ways to help.  We are having a potato soup night - the night before Thanksgiving, where folks can come in and buy soup to take home instead of having to cook while preparing for the feast next day.  This is an old tradition of the first settlers prior to the Thanksgiving feast.  We also have Christmas baskets with hot cocoa that are decorated... that I did myself.  Homemade cocoa is in the baskets of a variety of flavors.  We had a run of trying to make jam, but thus far that one hasn't been so successful!

We work diligently everyday to produce ideas to raise funds for our populace.  We have a ballroom on the third floor that is available for renting for parties, and will eventually be used for ballroom dancing lessons.  We are getting ready and beginning to decorate for Christmas.  I look forward to this.  I have been titled the "enterprising specialist"- so I suppose that is what I have now become!  My act of showing up has landed myself a new title.  I don't know if I'll ever begin introducing myself as "this is what I do"- again.  I've learned a great and powerful lesson here.  However, I am proud to be a part of this organization.  I know full well, it is exactly where I am supposed to be.  It has brought tremendous meaning to my life.  I also know that if this is true for me, it has to be a truth for the  populace that we help.

I am not certain if anyone will take the time to read all of this.  If one should do so and what to help?  Give us a look up on Facebook.  Shoot me an email.  Respond to this blog.  I will get back to you.  I will probably be writing here about my experience.  Thank you.  G.

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