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Monday, May 27, 2013

We Help.


My wife and I. We help. We volunteer. We helped a bunch of people do a job today that needed to be done. Not for any grand or glorious purpose. Not because the fate of the world, or our nation, or even our town hung in the balance. Just because some people we hold dear needed a hand.

As you might know from reading my irregularly-posted nonsense, my kids belong to a theater troupe. It’s not just any troupe. It’s not a star factory where the talented ones are pushed forward while the average kid is relegated to carrying as spear. It’s the kind of troupe where the shy kid gets a few lines just to give them an excuse to speak in public. Where the little one gets a key line or action to perform, so they and their parents can burst with pride at the end of the show. It’s the kind of troupe where every kid is welcomed, and made to be part of the family. The kind of group that is a non profit, where they rely on parent volunteers to help pull stuff together and make things happen for the kids.

Today was moving day.

For the last year, the troupe was utilizing a theater space that was, for many, a dream come true. Big dressing rooms, big stage… it was a real, bona-fide theater and the kids loved it.
But, like so much in life, time has a way of sneaking up on you and yelling “time’s up!” in your ear. We all knew it was coming, but when the curtain closed on the last performance, it was still kind of sad, still kind of wistful, still a bit melancholy.

And not just because we knew that all that stuff that had accumulated over the course of a year had to be moved.

But, it did.

Background flats, buckets of props and an endless parade of bins full of hats and shoes and tutus and canes shaped like flamingos. A caravan of mini vans and pick-ups traveling from the theater to the rehearsal space. A few achy muscles and a huge bunch of smiles, high fives and well wishes… and the job was done.

I remembered the past today. I remembered my uncles who fought, and those who died, so that we can continue to rule ourselves here in the U.S.A. I remember why we have the day off and why it’s so much more than National Barbeque Day. But, I chose to skip the parade, the trip to the museum or the cemetery. I chose to look forward instead of back. My wife and I chose to help some folks who continue to look forward, spending their time helping kids become better adults. And, we weren't alone.

I saw some people today. People packing bins, lifting boxes and moving stuff. I wasn’t surprised to see any of them, because when you volunteer, you tend to see the same faces over and over. The faces of the people who stand up, give of themselves and pitch in. They are the class moms, the little league coaches, the den mothers and all the others who give their time and talents to make the world a bit better for our kids.

Does their involvement mean their kid gets a bigger part in the next show? No. Not at all. It doesn’t work that way. If it did, there would be a lot more people volunteering. No, their involvement makes it better for all of the kids. Even kids they don’t know. The greater good, and all of that.

Today was a day for looking forward. Today was a day where I got to spend some time doing a good thing with some great people. Today, I didn't make the world a safer place, but maybe, along with my wife and a handful of good souls, we made the little bubble we inhabit a better place for our kids.

I’ll put that up against a parade any day.