June 7, 2011

Charity Case

Someone asked me the age-old question once: "What would you do if you didn't have to work?"  I thought for a few minutes...and the only answer I could come up with was "Volunteer."  It's always been a big fear of mine that I won't leave any mark on this world when my short time here is up.  I know that (or at least hope that) I make a difference on a small scale in some people's lives...but there's a part of me that wants to do more.  I want to help people.  I want to make sickness and cancer and autism and poverty and hunger go away.

Then I get overwhelmed. I can barely pay my own bills sometimes. I feel like I don't have enough money to donate and make a difference.  I can't settle on one organization because so many of them pull at my heartstrings.

I'm a bleeding heart.

I always have been.

There are so many charities and organizations that, had I the means, I would like to be involved with, but I want to choose ONE (or at the very least, one at a time) and make a difference for that one.

Last year, it was the Susan G. Komen foundation's 3-Day Walk. I've already decided that, for many reasons, I am not doing the 3-Day walk again this year, so I'll probably try for the 5k Race for the Cure happening in my hometown this fall.

Then I read something like this and all those feelings come back: I wanna help! What can I possibly do?!  Yes, I'm praying, but I want to DO something.  My heart swells up and feels painfully tight and I almost feel like I can't sit still.  But what can I do?  Where do I start?

Well...I think I started weeks ago, when I started running. I started running out of boredom with the elliptical, the need for some Zen me-time, and the desire to start building up my stamina. So, what can I do with that?

I can keep training. I can do the Relay for Life and the 5k Race for the Cure this year, and then...just maybe...the training for those races will build up my endurance and make me feel more confident about running enough that I can make even bigger goals and attend more races.

So, I think I am going to set a goal, right here and now, that 2012 will be the year that I raise money for Train4Autism. Maybe I'll still only be able to do a 5k or 10k, but just maybe I will be ready to start training for the half marathon I put on my 101 in 1001 list.

Long-time readers of this blog and my other blog know that I don't believe in coincidence.  I believe every tiny thing in my life, good and bad, is all part of God's master plan for my life. I don't think I "just started running" and started following runners on Twitter.  I think I needed to know about Sam and Tiffany and their precious children.  The pull I feel in my heart towards this family and their struggles with autism makes me want to do something.

Sure, it will be a drop in the bucket...but it's better than doing nothing -- which is absolutely not an option for me.

ETA: (Why do I always notice these things AFTER I hit "publish?") The title of this blog was in NO WAY meant to say any of the people I am running/walking/raising funds for are "charity cases" in a negative sense.  I just mean that, in this case, I am consumed with thoughts of doing something charitable and that I want to do something about it.

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