Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One of These People Doesn't Belong

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.


the mama bird diaries said...

You are worthy! You are making a difference! And of course, all of us can always do more. I could do a lot more! Thanks for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Ooo! Me, too! Steve and I were just discussing this very thing last night. But what? How? And can I take my kids?

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

Good for you. I wish I did more - but I feel like I am such a slacker.

D... said...

Don't underestimate what you do. I am reminded of a quote: To the world you may be one person. But, to one person, you may be the world. You make a difference. Truly.

I like your resolution. But, I want you to remember that you aren't even close to doing "close to nothing" for the greater good.

Lori said...

I'm with you on this, I too feel that i should be helping those less fortunate than I. But, so far the guilt hasn't been enough to overcome the reality that handling homework, scouts, sports, household responsibilities, exercising, and all the other stuff that NEEDS to be done in the normal course of our days, is just about all I can handle without loosing my mind. If i put one more thing on my plate, I'll be useless.

Janet said...

Hmmm. "my own church and my kids' school and my kids' Girl Scout troop and Cub Scout den."
Seems to me you're already making a big difference. So many parents don't lift a finger on behalf of their kids' activities, and they aren't out helping the homeless either. They're on the golf course or playing tennis or drinking away the afternoon. Don't sell yourself short.


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