Who do you do it for? (HLD 51)

12 May 2020

This bit of literary diarrhoea has been floating in my brain (good lord that’s a nasty image! let’s move on….) for a while and I’ve struggled with whether to put it into writing or just let it keep floating around in my brain.

It will probably offend some people, so let me apologise in advance for being offensive. My family know how you feel.

I know a lot of very very nice people, who do good stuff. They contribute their time and talents to areas of need in the community, often voluntarily, but sometimes in a paid role but for less than their skills and talents deserve, that could be recognised (ie paid) better elsewhere.

These people help in areas such as welfare, aged care, homeless shelters, refugees, disability assistance, blood banks, animal refuges, fostering infants, cancer support, saving whales, picking up rubbish, walking dogs for the elderly and soooo many more very worthwhile causes.

Many of these areas would not survive without the help of all these people, and we all ultimately benefit from their work.

My question, if you are one of these people, is “Who do you do it for”?

The question started festering in my brain after a few people gave me credit for writing these diarrhoea entries (again – horrible visual image, let’s move on again…).

I have had to tell those people that, primarily, I do this writing for myself. Sure – both my mother and mother-in-law enjoy reading them, and by posting them to them (snail mail is still alive and well), I feel happy knowing I’m contributing in some way to my elderly relatives being confined for their health. And yes I get responses on Facebook from people who have read them, and I do love reading your thoughts on the topic of the day.

But the heart of the issue is that I’ve challenged myself to see how long my brain will keep coming up with ideas to write about. The writing itself is easy for me, always has been, so that’s not a significant achievement in my mind. Coming up with something each day to write about will eventually, I’m sure, filter down to me telling you about how I cut my toenails today. And drank coffee. And then the literary diarrhoea may just cease.

So – what is it that you do, that makes you feel you are contributing in some way? I challenged a good friend who works with a welfare group, packaging up food for those in need. I suspect I offended her by challenging her statement that she does that work primarily because of the people in need. My question was that “if you could afford to pay them a lot of money to do the work without you, would you still feel the need to go out and do something somewhere to help someone?”

I worded it wrong to her (sorry, N) and am probably wording it wrong now. But at least I’m consistent.

Is your desire to help brought about by an overwhelming connection to the area that you are providing assistance to, or an overwhelming desire to HELP?

People who volunteer are a special bunch of people and the vast majority I’ve spoken to acknowledge that they get out of it as much as they put in.

Is that you? Or did I offend you straight away and you haven’t read this far?

Off to have a cup of coffee while I wait to hear who I’ve offended. My toenails can wait for another day.

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