Volunteering with Spirit

Carol Scott-Kassner

If you are like me, you find yourself going through various stages as you get older. At the age of 75, I find both my energy and my focus shifting.

I’ve always been a high energy extrovert who loves to organize and to lead groups and causes. At this point, however, I find myself moving more and more inward. It isn’t that I care less about the world; I just don’t have the energy I used to.

So where does that leave me as a volunteer? I still feel a calling to use my life experience to help heal the world. That calling is leading me in new directions.

Instead of feeling compelled to supervise an intern or chair a board, I’m moving toward a time of simply offering a compassionate presence to others. Compassion means to “be with,” to listen deeply without trying to fix. I am now present to “adopted” grandchildren whose parents have invited us into their lives.

I want to be present to people who are struggling with addiction issues, so I’m volunteering for an organization that serves those people. And, I’m trying to be more present to my own journey of aging — caring for my health, my spirit and my body as I age. I cannot be compassionate for others if I’m not compassionate for myself.

Here are some other options I’ve thought of that are close at hand:

  • I could volunteer at a school to help
  • children learn to read.
  • I could work at a nearby food bank.
  • I could help prepare and deliver
  • meals for those homebound.

There is much to be done. May you continue to find opportunities to volunteer that meet your interests, energy and needs at this stage of your life.

Carol Scott-Kassner is a spiritual director and a Certified Sage-ing Leader (www.sage-ing.org).

If you are interested in a volunteer opportunity, contact RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program) of King County at 206-694-6786 or janh@solid-ground.org.

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