I got the idea of volunteering. But where? I thought about the Humane Society, which I love and I love the mission, and I'd get to cuddle kitties and walk puppies and maybe do some dog training. But there were two main drawbacks: the drive over there (and I'm so sick of driving everywhere sitting on my tushie. I want to WALK AROUND ON MY LEGS, even though both my jobs requiring significant standing and walking. I love my Beetle, but I hate daily commutes. I miss my walking commutes!), and the fact that sometimes puppies and kitties dont get adopted and have to be put down. That would make me sad, and since one of my goals in volunteering was to do something totally happy, that could be a problem.
You see, in a parish that struggles with conflict, guilt-free joy can be hard to come by. In a hospital where my area includes the Emergency Department and Neurosurgery ICU, I deal with tragedy every day. Actually, I can sometimes handle 5 or 6 tragedies before lunch. A few weeks ago, I handled 6 deaths in my first two hours on call, and added four more before 7AM. That's a lot. The pager went off 27 times. I needed to do something where no one could get mad at me, or start to cry.
Enter Ten Thousand Villages. It's within walking distance, it's full of happy people buying stuff for their houses and as gifts for people they like, and it draws a crowd of folks who are fair-trade minded types who like to benefit the world with their shopping. And the shop is tiny and pretty and sparkly. I walk in, and as I pack boxes of gifts for customers, I am constantly saying "Oooh, I love these colors" "Oh, that's SO CUTE!" "Awwww, I have that cow tree topper too and it makes me laugh every time!"
In short, it totally fills the goal of no-stress happiness. At least for now. I like that. It's a big highlight of my week at the moment.
Actually, another highlight of my week, just so I can mention it, is when my Junior Warden shows up early at church and makes coffee. Because he's a really good coffee wrangler, and no one can make it like him, and he's one of those people who's got this gift of being upbeat and cheerful. No matter how hard I try to be in an early morning funk, he drags me out of it, even if I am kicking and screaming and trying to be in a bad mood. Actually, he could volunteer with me at Ten Thousand Villages, because he's got the great attitude down pat. But only if he can be the coffee wrangler, too!