Friday evening I helped at a charity fundraising event for the Arc of Clark County, a non-profit organization that serves children and adults with developmental disabilities. This fundraiser was organized by neighbors of ours who are involved with the charity because of the services one of their sons receives from the agency. They actually have two sons – twins. One was born fine, but the other has several, some still undiagnosed, problems that have caused him to need multiple surgeries, hospitalizations and tests along with having delayed development and other cognitive issues. Little Tony has become the poster boy for Team Tony, a fundraising effort to help support the Arc of Clark County and one of its programs, Pride for Kids.
As I watched a video about the Arc’s services, I had a warm glow come over me as I saw pictures of families working with and loving their children, even though the efforts involved in raising their children are probably something far different from what they had planned for. This is true, too, for our neighbors. With three little children in the house (the twins have an older sister), they, naturally, have busy lives, but in addition to the normal toddler/pre-school activities, schedules and messes, they also must spend so much additional time taking care of Tony’s medical and developmental concerns. Yet, they also freely give of their time in order to give back; they have found a passion in helping the Arc.
I used to be a trust banker, but now I am a volunteer and, while I enjoyed my career, I can say without a doubt that I find much more satisfaction in the work I do now – even though it doesn’t come with a paycheck. As I watched my neighbors Friday evening, knowing what a crazy, busy life they lead, I was very impressed that they still make the effort to volunteer, still take the time to give back. When they were waiting for the twins’ birth, they did not know that their lives were about to change because of the special needs of one of the boys. They did not know that “busy” would take on a whole new meaning. They did not know that, in adversity they would find a new passion, a new way to bring joy and meaning into their lives. While I’m sure that they went home from the fundraiser with exhausted minds and bodies, I am also sure that they went home with a feeling of joy in their hearts.
I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve. --Albert Schweitzer