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Gratitude Friday...silence (part 2)

I listened to Simon and Garfunkle's The Sound of Silence this morning, and am inspired to write a second gratitude entry this week!


I think there is much truth in the lyrics to this song...the metaphoric words of the prophets are most often written in places where we forget to look, and whispered in the silences we don't take time to listen to.

This song about the sound of silence kind of ties in with my previous entry, although a different way of listening to the silence. Not listening for your own sake, but listening for others. Listening for the voices of those who have grown silent, weary of having their words fall on deaf ears. Those of us living lives of wealth and privilege do too often bow and pray as lip service only. We go to church on Sunday morning, we hear the words about what we are called to do, but we do not always listen, and certainly we do not always act. In fact, we often simply return to our comfy lives and think no more about the ways in which we might help others, or the ways in which we might change the world. In fairness, it is hard to sustain a belief that one person can make a difference, so we get disheartened and feel helpless and overwhelmed at the size of the problems facing our world.

I am grateful for an employer who is engaged in charitable efforts, who offers us opportunities to respond with action. One such opportunity arose last week, when volunteers were requested to participate in the United Way Day of Caring. I, and several others from my department (I work for the provincial government) were allowed time off to volunteer and were assigned to a work team that would be painting sections of a men's shelter owned by the Metropolitan Immigration Settlement Association (MISA). A small act of helping, but every small act is a step in the right direction. Here is the story, and a couple photos of our team.

>>> UnitedWaySNSMR 10/13/2009 1:57 PM >>>
On October 7th a group of employees from SNSMR took the time out of their busy days to take part in the United Way Day of Caring.

Idris's wife passed away when she was 26. 18 months ago he and his young daughter moved to Canada from Kosovo. His daughter is now in grade 1 here in Halifax. Together they reside at MISA House in Fairview, a building which houses single men and in some cases their children.

The SNSMR team supplied a fresh coat of paint throughout their home as well as throughout the hallways of MISA House. Everyone showed great enthusiasm and teamwork and the job was finished with great results.

Thanks to all who helped make this event a success!


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Comments (11)

Barb Cabot:

Anne, what a very thoughtful post. A good reminder to listen from our hearts and to give of ourselves. There is so much to be greatful for and in sharing we receive. The work that you and others are doing through this United Way organization is just wonderful and inspiring. Thank you for this gratitude post.

Anne:

Barb, I love your phrase "in sharing we receive", that is so true. I found out the Day of Caring happens twice a year, so am hoping I'll be able to participate again. It's amazing how many small ways there are in which we can make a difference.

Wish I had the (courage? strength? talent?) to act in a big way...which thought is inevitably followed by "but..." But I don't have the courage, the time, the talent, the money, the first clue where to start or what to do. So for now, I'm stuck in my comfort zone...

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Anne, you and your employer are so generous and caring for helping those in need in your community.

Thank you so much for the inspiration and for this wonderul gratitude post. Have a great weekend!

Anne:

Thanks Kathy, I'm glad we were able to do something. It was nice that we got to meet Idris, as he was hanging around while we painted. He doesn't speak much English yet though, so conversation was mostly nods and smiles!

Enjoy your weekend too, Kathy!

Beautiful post. I love that your employer cared so much to make this a priority.

I have always loved that song.

nancyhol:

A lovely post, Anne!

You are right - too many of us in our cozy little lives would like to help others but don't know where to begin.

At least you have begun, and that is good.

Anne:

girasoli, I'm so glad to work for an employer who promotes fundraising and volunteer efforts in the workplace. And I've loved this song since I was little. My mom and aunt had great taste in music, so I grew up with Simon & Garfunkle, among others.

Nancy, that's a really good point about not knowing where to begin. I often feel helpless wondering what I can do individually, because we don't always hear about these small ways in which we can help. It's only through my workplace that I found out about this Day of Caring.

Great post, very inspiring! I have always loved that song too. And you are so lucky that your job encourages work like this. You are right that every small act contributes, probably more than you realize at the time.

I've started volunteering at the cat sanctuary I blogged about a few months ago. Sometimes it's hard to decide where to give our limited free time, but for me, it was easy to follow my heart to the cats!

Anne:

Hey Annie, that's wonderful. I remember reading your entry about the sanctuary. I'm not surprised to learn you are now volunteering there! :)

Great post, Anne! So nice to hear that you were able to do this, and with the support of your job, that is even cooler.

Anne:

thanks Chiocciola :) We're hoping to help out again for the next Day of Caring (this spring, I think.)

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