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Whoa, Volunteerism!


Acts of service are important to me. Much of our humanness is wrapped up in our ability to empathize with and give our time and resources to others. To me, it doesn't matter who you give to, when or how you give, but that you give. The beneficiaries of service are twofold, the giver and the recipient. The recipient gets the wealth: the brownies, the clean house, the loan of a ladder, the cup of sugar, the hand-me-down coat; the giver gets to share in the recipient's smile and maybe learn a thing or two about herself in the process.

I especially feel like the gift of volunteering time gives the giver a lot to chew over.

From January 4th through January 19th, I logged over 70 hours volunteering for GREAT Theatre's production of Wizard of Oz. These quiet days since Strike, I've been chewing over my participation in the project. As you might expect, there were lows and highs in those 70 hours. Putting up a show, especially a show with heavy special effects and a cast of 105, takes a lot of organization and a lot of hard work. Likewise, it takes a lot of organization and hard work just to keep the home fires steadily burning with clean sheets, crockpot meals, and paid bills during those 70 hours away. As I reflect and digest the experience, I think a lot about my own role. I think about the ways that I could have worked harder, made the show stronger, been more organized, or even led cleverer Munchkin warm-ups. If you put a price tag on my hard work and those 70 hours, I wonder if it might make the experience a little tainted for me. Is there any amount of money that can replace the feeling you get when you push the Oz Head to center stage on time or a parent's comment, "You are really good with kids. No, I mean it, you are really good. Thank you."

When I think about the pros and cons of my volunteering for Oz, I think about what Glinda says as Dorothy leaves Oz, "She had to learn it for herself." The fun, the fatigue, the laughter, the tears, the smiles, the puzzles, the authority, the powerlessness, the really busy days, the standing around ... It means something. Something significant.

I'm glad that I participated. I'm glad to have met some wonderful new people in the process. I am glad that I worked hard and learned a lot. Especially, I'm happy to have shared this moment with Adelaide. I cherish the moment when we were driving to a technical rehearsal and she said in her matter-of-fact way, "I love this, Mom. Thanks for making this happen for me."



Adelaide, you are so gracious to understand your Mama's contribution to The Wizard experience.

Oh how sweet! I didn't know she said that to you! That, in itself, makes it all worth it. (And P.S. - I agree. The yellow brick road is a bit too narrow for my parental comfort as well.)

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