I'm on the selection committee for an organization which honors Bay Area folks who give of themselves in extraordinary ways. It's a local offshoot of a national program, and I was put in charge of it when The Chronicle brought it on-board about five years ago. It is the only thing from my days at The Chronicle that I remain involved in, although my involvement now is minimal, at best.
Every couple of months, we get together and read through nomination forms submitted by people who know these "saints." Generally speaking, "saints" is a pretty good descriptor of these nominees. They help the homeless, underserved communities, foster kids, at-risk youth, the ill, the dying, and so on. If they are not outright volunteers, they are poorly paid and overworked employees of non-profit organizations. Like I said, they are saints.
Last night was the annual awards ceremony, when we have all 52 weekly winners come together for a brief program and reception. Each week, they're recognized on CBS5-TV, KCBS-AM and The Chronicle. This annual gig is their public "recognition."
I've always worked the door at the event. I'm not much for chit-chatting to begin with, so this gives me something worthwhile to do without standing in a corner talking only to the people I know. I get to congratulate people I've "met" through the selection process or through one of the media outlets.
And I get to feel like a useless human being. And I get to feel that way even more nowadays than when I was with The Chronicle, where I could at least say I was in some way responsible for the awards existing here. The thing is, though, I felt just nearly as useless back then.
In the face of meeting all these extraordinary people, I realize how I do...nothing. I do nothing for the greater good. Okay, maybe the more exact term is "close to nothing." Which still makes me feel completely and utterly unworthy to be around all of these honorees.
It's late in January -- we are nearly pass the midway mark, aren't we? -- to be making a resolution, but I'm going to do it anyway. I resolve to feel less unworthy next year by making a difference in 2009. A difference that goes beyond my own church and my kids' school and my kids' Girl Scout troop and Cub Scout den.
I guess it's never too late for that kind of resolution.