DAY TWELVE: There’s Always A Place To Volunteer
Turns out reaching a state of ‘Happiness’ is ridiculously easy.
You finally find the set of keys you’ve been looking for for over three hours and you’re ecstatic!
You see a funny video of a cute baby with a voracious appetite and you can’t stop laughing.
Your life long friend calls to cheer you up and you’re suddenly in a positive mood.
It really doesn’t take much to be happy!
And it also doesn’t take long for this happiness to subside, simply because no one can maintain one mood or emotion endlessly. No one can possibly be happy ALL the time (I mean come on, imagine how extremely annoying that would be!)
So if it’s not constant happiness that we’re pursuing (since we just found out it’s obviously unattainable) then what exactly are we running after? What’s the missing element powerful enough to take this excruciating sadness away?
What in this life is capable of making us feel alive…?
No really, what is it?
I’m actually asking you guys loool
Well studies have shown that selfish people who have everything and live only for themselves suffer from low-self esteem, depression and are the most likely to commit suicide.
On the other hand, thanks to MRI technology, it has also been proven that ‘giving’ activates the mid region of the brain, the same part responsible for cravings and seeking pleasure. (The scientific study uses eating chocolate as an example of intense pleasurable feelings. I think I just fell in love with scientists and researchers; such noble, knowledgeable people loool)
So I thought I’d put the theory to the test…
I joined my dear friend on one of her volunteering jobs to pack ‘Iftar’ meals for the less fortunate. On our way there, she eloquently prepared me for my first experience…
Marwa: ‘So we’re supposed to pack 1000 hot meals in less than an hour’
Me: ‘How is that even possible?’
Marwa: ‘We’ve been doing it for years. You basically give up the right to breathe and instead you work NON-STOP! You hear me Lilly? No side talks, no calling the kids to check on them, no whining about the heat or about your feet going numb. And no bathroom breaks!’
Me: ‘I can do that’ (Gulp)
Marwa: ‘Oh and also… uhmmm… heads up…. The supervisor yells a lot. She will make it a point to publicly humiliate you in front of all the other volunteers if she sees you’re not doing a good job, so just be prepared.’
Me: ‘Okay stop right there! Are we volunteers or ex-cons going back to jail? I plan on donating my time not my dignity, thank you very much.’
Marwa (laughing): ‘Dignity? Honey, this is serious work. Hundreds of people around the country are expecting this food and there’s no room for mistakes. Do yourself a favor and leave your dignity at the door. ‘
And honestly, I never thought working in an assembly line, amongst total strangers, sweating from the heat and shivering from the fear of humiliation, getting screamed at while bagging plastic boxes like a maniac and then going home smelling like meat stock would bring me such immense joy!
Nothing, absolutely nothing, compares to this beautiful feeling…
So if you’ve never experienced it before, I’m urging you to please to give it a try….
Donate your time to a worthy cause.
Volunteer at the local hospital, orphanage, public school, soup kitchen, food bank or help clean up a district in your neighborhood.
The options are endless.
Just pick one and try it out for a day. You’ll see how the humbling experience will be life changing.
You’ll see how expecting the reward only from Allah and no one else, is so amazingly fulfilling….
It’s kind of addictive…
I can safely assume anyone who tries the beginner level will most certainly move up to the advanced level of wanting to do this every single day for the rest of eternity because …
‘When action meets compassion, lives change…’
Starting with yours….
May all your days be filled with joy and may Allah accept us all in this beautiful, generous, holy month…
All my love,
Lilly S. Mohsen