Ut prosim [u̇t ˈprō-sim] – that I may serve.

My point, more precisely is that we may serve. This isn’t about me, you see, it’s about how we pay it forward throughout our lives. I like to think we all do it in one way or many, sometimes perhaps without conscious purpose.

volunteer-graphic M Mead

Wednesday, a highly respected member of our local law enforcement community suffered a heart attack while out riding his bicycle after his shift – among all the many ways he dedicated himself to this area, professionally and personally, he was a bicycle officer, as well. He loved cycling. Sadly, he was gone when found.

As it happens, a group has just been formed in recent weeks to serve as a volunteer support group for the sheriff’s office and I am a part of that. And grateful to offer some service to this group of compassionate and dedicated professionals who’ve shown me so much care in the past couple of years.

Yesterday we were scrambling a bit to organize food and companionship for the members of the sheriff’s office. Starting today the business community, including several restaurants, grocery stores and the like, has been rallied and is furnishing food for all the shifts through Saturday when the funeral will be held. Perhaps even beyond, we are still working on it. We’ll still be on hand, throughout, to keep things organized and running, or just as moral support. Whatever they need.

This isn’t the only volunteer organization I’m a part of, I may even be a bit over-extended. There’s the women’s leadership council at the university, the advisory council for the center for the arts, and the affiliated board of the symphony.

You know how it is. You offer your time and service, but you also provide financial support. You take the list of food and supplies they’re handing out at the grocery store and fill up a bag for the women’s shelter or the food bank.

shakespeare givingMaybe it’s through your church. Maybe it’s giving spare change to the Salvation Army person ringing the bell during the holiday season. Maybe it’s donating clothes you don’t wear anymore to the YMCA or Goodwill. Maybe it’s convenient, maybe it’s tax deductible, maybe it is a salve to guilt. Or maybe it makes you feel better knowing that something you’ve given, whether it’s your time or your treasure, will better the world we live in. Whatever and whyever it is you give, it’s all good.

thank-you-volunteer-clip-art-volunteers HEART WORDSEven in a culture that is so fixated on acquisition and consumption, I want to believe we have a basic human drive to give back to our fellow human beings and our communities. A rising tide lifts all boats.

Do you agree? Do you volunteer your time? Write a check? What things inspire you?