Things have been…good. Calm. Just what I need.
One way I take care of myself is by volunteering. I always loved the idea of volunteering but I never took it too seriously. Probably because I was too busy destroying my life.
Back when I got my DUI, one of the things the court required me to do was community service. When presented with my choices, I chose to serve at my local library since I’ve always been an avid reader and writer and had a fondness for libraries. Setting everything up to complete the community service was personally humiliating for me. It was not the way I had envisioned my philanthropic efforts to really begin to bloom.
I followed every rule and caught on quickly at the library. I spent as much time as I could there to complete the required amount of hours. As I did so, I found a peace there. I hadn’t stopped drinking at this point, but when I was volunteering, I felt so at ease and my soul felt so good to be giving back, even though it was court mandated service.
While I was completing my community service hours, I also got to know the staff and other volunteers. I didn’t open up much at first because I didn’t want anyone to find out that I was a mom and a teacher and that I had gotten a DUI. No one seemed to mind though. I came and did my job and I learned about everyone else while they didn’t poke too much to find out about me.
While it may seem cold of them to have not inquired more about who I was, it wasn’t like that at all. I could tell they just sensed that I wasn’t ready to open up and they weren’t going to push me. No one asked why I was there or how I got started volunteering. They just let me be while making me feel welcome and loved when I felt so unlovable.
In less than two months I finished the required hours of community service. As I was getting my official court documents signed by the head librarian, I hesitantly asked if I could keep coming back to volunteer. Without missing a beat she exclaimed that of course I could and they were all hoping I would! She even told me that I’d make a wonderful librarian if I ever decided to go that route. I nearly cried from all of the grace and love I felt from these wonderful people.
So I kept going back. For two to four hours a week you can find my volunteering at my local library. I’ve done so for the past year and will continue to do so. And to this day, none of the librarians have asked me about how I got my start as a volunteer. It hasn’t mattered to them.
Other volunteers have joined us who have community service hours to complete and when they do, I remember the grace and patience I was shown and I now show it to them. Every time I walk into the library, even now at a year later, I immediately relax and am filled with a joyful peace. I am part of the family there and they have welcomed and loved me (and my kids!) with open arms. It has been a truly beautiful experience.
I have often thought that maybe the whole DUI and community service part was a blessing in disguise for this opportunity at the very least. I was happy just to continue giving back to my community and those who have helped guide me when I’ve been lost without a court requiring me to do so.
Then today happened. The head librarian asked to speak to me in her office. I was slightly nervous – did I do something wrong? Had I messed up somehow? No, not at all. She offered me a paid part-time position for the summer.
My heart soared.
I have gone from court ordered community service to volunteering to now a paid position. The librarians think enough of me, the girl who got the DUI, to offer to pay her to work for them. I am in awe.
Life is certainly so much sweeter sober.