“Helping out is not some special skill. It is not the domain of rare individuals. It is not confined to a single part of our lives. We simply heed the call of that natural impulse within and follow it where it leads us.”
About four years ago, I was privileged to meet an amazing woman named Micki Blair. She is the “feline coordinator” for the LifeLine Animal Project, a no-kill animal shelter in DeKalb County which does a great deal of community outreach, and provides invaluable community service (including management of the Catlanta program, which utilizes the trap-neuter-return (TNR) method for stabilizing feral cat populations). As you can imagine, Micki does not make a great deal of money, but she has a deep abiding love for animals, and she has devoted herself to the well-being of cats and to finding them “forever homes”. She goes a mile further, when she makes herself available to adoptive families if they need help to ease the transition of their chosen pet into their home. I have seen her at work – not only does she love these animals in a general sense, she loves each one individually… and then she lets them go. She is an extraordinary person.
This world is filled with extraordinary people, people who help others – of other species or our own – animal rescuers, teachers, counselors, parents, volunteers of all kinds… people who give of themselves for the benefit of others. Clearly, the degree to which this impulse manifests itself varies greatly from one individual to the next. Some people devote their lives to being of service, some seize the opportunity to be so whenever it arises, and some seem to resist the call altogether. Some have expectations of receiving something in return; money, satisfaction, appreciation, salvation… But others are of service with no reward anticipated, beyond the feeling of warmth that comes from knowing you have helped someone.
Why? Why do we give of ourselves? Is the impulse innate or is it learned? Can we cultivate its deepening and grow a movement of people-helping-people (and animals and the earth) all over the world? What do we do to foster this attitude of giving in each individual whose life touches ours?
How extraordinary can you be, today?