A Volunteer’s Tale …

Each year I work at the PCAM Airshow as a volunteer.  It is joyful work as I interact with guests at the front gate, carrying out the search requirements mandated by today’s world.  Though it appears on the surface simply a bag check, the connection occurring each moment reflects much more.  It is a moment in time when strangers meet surrounded by shared excitement and anticipation.  It is a moment where common purpose prevails through graceful cooperation.

Long days standing under the sun are experienced as my co-workers and I carry out our tasks.  But for me, so much joy comes to me through each momentary connection … connection with guests … a warm and genuine greeting, and a sincere sense of appreciation for them (our guests) allowing me to reach into their world and briefly inspect and search.  This moment is not trivial for I honor the fact that they chose to allow me access as some unwritten agreement for entrance.  And without my process, no admittance can be gained.

So I honor that agreement through connection … trying my best to lighten the moment and ensure each guest is given my sincere message of “thanks” for sharing their day with us.  And for my efforts carrying out my appointed task, I am given something so very rich in return.  The guests … men, women, children, infants … veterans, seniors, families … every color of this rainbow called our society … almost all reflect back to me warmth, kindness, and lightness from the shared excitement of the day and what lays ahead.

These riches are poured upon me moment after moment as the day unfolds.  Quick, friendly, and sometimes playful exchanges occur as I ask to reach into a purse, or examine camera equipment being carried by a young man weighing less than the equipment he carries.  So many magical moments as small, stuffed dinosaurs, elephants, and bears emerge from brightly colored backpacks carried by a small child.  Such rich displays of young responsibility as a small child proudly steps forward making sure I see into their colorful, sequined covered purse as well … allowing them to “feel” an equal to their parents doing the same.  It is a momentary dance of community with a common purpose, and the buffet of feelings within me is enormous as the crowd passes through hour after hour.  I deeply appreciate what each passing guest has allowed me to do … and I am thankful that as a broader community we have momentarily traversed an awkward moment with the grace (rough as it might seem) of a ballerina, successfully and with lightness.

For me, it is like a wonderful Christmas morning for with each exchange I receive a gift … one that leaves me feeling wonderful at the end of each very long, hot, and “worth living” day.   It is a time of renewal … a time when my sense of connectedness with those around me is tuned to its greater essence … kindness and mutual support for a greater good.  And as I carry home each evening the inner wealth of joyful feelings given me throughout the day, I reflect and give thanks that this day was lived, felt, and experienced in the moment … so many moments … so many wonderful connections with so many wonderful people.  And I feel rich beyond measure … a feeling I relish along with my sunburn and tired legs …

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