Thursday, October 31, 2013

Making of a Volunteer

For our current ( and just completed ) writing class, the instructor asked us to do a longer project, behind the weekly assignments and such, that we would bring for a reading on the last evening. The following is the beginning of my project:

“You’ve got mail.”

It was from Mark, the administrator with whom I was volunteering at my parish. I hurriedly opened it: “Can you come next time prepared to talk about another volunteer opportunity?” This was an exciting development. I was a very capable, recently- retired computer geek, looking to contribute my skills in a volunteer position. I had already helped Mark learn Microsoft Publisher and had given him a PowerPoint presentation on how PowerPoint works. Maybe this was the opportunity to provide some training to help others in the department with the intricacies of Excel … the sort of branching out we had spoken of initially … and, truth be told, an opportunity to work with my favorite application in the Microsoft Office Suite.

“Thank you for coming,” he says.

“Of course,” I reply, “what do you have in mind?”

“Well, our Liturgical Coordinator, Randy, whom I think you do not know, has Mondays and Tuesdays off. We’re looking for someone to come in on one of his off-days, and inspect the facility, making sure it meets our standards. Are you with me?”

My heart is in my throat, disappointment palpable. I’m thinking, “I’m a computer guy, a real geek. You know it’s true. You want me to do that?” I actually say, “Please go on.”

“Well, the sorts of things we’d want … “ and I’m only partially hearing him, as he drones on and on about the facility, “… making sure nothing is growing in the holy water, the flowers continue to be presentable and no light bulbs are burned out.”

I didn’t hear everything, but I realize he wants me to do physical inspections of the entire building. And he wants me to make judgments on such things as the acceptability of the flowers around the facility.

“You don’t have to fix everything yourself … “

I am not up for this.

“… just be sure the non-compliant items …“

I don’t even know who does what around here.

“… to the attention of the appropriate people.”

I want nothing to do with this. Where’s the door I came in through?

Even this is a bit long, and it's only 20% of the total. Please leave a comment if you'd like to read more. I would consider posting it, perhaps in installments.

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