Friday, March 01, 2013
Yesterday began my first of a two day shift at the fire station. Being a volunteer, I show up to the station after my paying job and stay overnight until its time to go back to the paying job again. Around 10pm we were called out for a woman who tried to commit suicide. I got to be the instrument of hope and meaning for the patient we saw. This makes me constantly remind myself that no matter what position you are in life, you are a vessel that can be used to build up, or tear apart.
The most important piece of the whole call was when the patient said, "You don't care about me - this is just your job," and three of us paused in the same moment and said, "No. We are here because we want to help those in need. We collect no money for what we do here. We do this because we do care what happens to you." I added that she mattered most to me in that moment, and would continue to matter to me in the days and weeks to come. I tried to convey my desire to prove to her how much she would be missed if she were gone.
While the ride into the hospital for this patient wasn't exceptional - it taught me the lesson that while I may not get paid money to do the thing that means everything to me in this world, I get more out of volunteering than I have ever expected, and that makes me the richest woman in the world.