“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.” Greek Proverb
Nearly every Thursday morning I attend a meeting of the Rutland South Rotary Club of which I have been a member since early December of 2010. It’s always a pleasant morning and I look forward to seeing the people and having the experience every week.
The motto of Rotary is “Service Above Self” and the club is involved in multiple community service projects, gives out scholarships every year and we give out dictionaries to elementary students every Autumn.
And every week someone comes in and speaks to us for a little less than half an hour about a topic of their choosing. Recently, we listened as the director of Meals on Wheels explained the logistics and importance of the program to us. They also explained their need for volunteer drivers. And it got me thinking. I always feel a little bit guilty when we have speakers talking about programs I would love to be involved with but cannot make the time commitment to. I simply don’t have the time to volunteer. Or at least not to commit to something routine. I volunteer my time when it’s possible it just doesn’t happen as often as I would like it to at this point in my life. Trying to commit to anything more than a one off time sensitive task, isn’t going to happen.
But as I was sitting there listening to the speaker explain how for some of the people receiving Meals on Wheels deliveries, those drivers are the only human contact those people will have for an entire day I got to thinking about how just informing one’s self about the needs and the people who work to meet those needs within a community changes a person’s perspective dramatically. I might not have time to volunteer right now, but if you’ve read my post about money, you won’t be surprised to read that I’d like to retire from working full time at an earlier age than you might expect. Maybe not as early as this gentleman but still earlier than expected. In fact I think the job market and entire economy would do better if we could all try to limit the length of our careers a bit more than we do. That’s a topic for another day, probably a long long time from now.
Even though this woman’s pleas for volunteer delivery drivers cannot be satisfied by me in my current place in life, I would not be surprised at all if it’s not something I do in the future. Especially if my retirement plans follow their intended path. In fact there are a lot of community minded things I would like to experience as time becomes more available. Half of the reason I would like to focus on putting my family in a position where my wife and I don’t have to work as much as we currently do is so that we can focus on the things we would like to do for and with our community
So as you are moving through life you will develop affections for issues and parts of your community. Don’t stop championing those causes and don’t stop encouraging people to take interest in them simply because you aren’t seeing the results you would like when you would like to see them. You never know what kind of an impact you’re having and you never know whose life you are reaching into with your actions or your words. For all we know, the seeds you are planting today might not bear fruit for years to come. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth planting now.
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” Martin Luther
Thanks for reading.