Maybe Van Life Isn’t Such A Bad Idea

My view this evening

My youngest has to have 50 volunteer hours to graduate next June. He’s already cruising along getting these hours because he is all over deadlines like white on rice. A couple weeks ago, though, he was offered the opportunity to earn two more volunteer hours tonight by serving as a student ambassador at meet-and-greet at another school. He has been giving tours of Denver Academy as a student ambassador since 8th grade. In his sophomore year, he was promoted to lead ambassador. He takes this responsibility very seriously because he is dead serious about everything, especially responsibility. So, when he asked me if he could get these two volunteer hours by doing this event tonight, I had to reward his diligence. About a week ago, he told me that I would need to drive him to this other school for the volunteering. He had to be there from 6-8. I didn’t think another thing about it.

The other day I asked him where the event tonight was being held. He told me it was near Wings Over the Rockies, which is roughly an hour from our house in rush hour traffic. I did the driving math in my head. We would have to leave at 5 (after I just got home from school pick up at 3:50). If I wanted to go home while he was volunteering, by the time I got there I would have to turn around and drive back to pick him up. So I have spent the past two hours sitting in the parking lot in my car while he earned his two hours. Am I angry about this? No. I love this kid. I love his devotion to his school, to his graduation requirements, and to his concern about securing a successful future for himself by (hopefully) finishing as one of the top students in his graduating class. I’m not angry or annoyed about this at all.

But, I do need to pee. I am thinking now that I wish I had a van-life van. What good is a “luxury” SUV if there is no toilet? Just saying.

Food For Thought About Volunteerism

We rise by lifting others.” ~Robert Ingersoll

For the past couple weeks, Luke and I have done some volunteering at Food Bank of the Rockies. Luke needs 50 hours of volunteer work to graduate next June. When he and i were sitting down and weighing his options for volunteer opportunities, we decided on the food bank because we wanted to make an impact for people who are struggling with food scarcity, whether it be as a result of the pandemic or homelessness or other unfortunate, unseen circumstances. We are a lucky family because our biggest decisions regarding food are whether to stop at King Soopers or Target for groceries and whether to cook dinner at home or hit up the local food truck. But we aren’t blind. We see the growing homeless situation in Denver and the lines at food pantries since April of last year. So, the Food Bank of the Rockies it was.

Over our three shifts so far, Luke and I have sorted food, loaded and moved pallets for shipments to food pantries, and even prepared school lunches. And we enjoyed it. A lot. We walk in for our 3-hour shift and the next thing we know we are finished. The employees, as well as the other volunteers, have been helpful and kind. There is something about giving back, even in the smallest way, that can make a messed world seem more positive. Like the quote above, my spirit is raised when I do what I can to lift someone else in their time of difficulty. Instead of wringing my hands at the sky over things I can’t control, I can contribute in a positive way. It feels good. Maybe it’s the endorphins from lifting and carrying cases of food but, dang, that warehouse brings me joy and peace of mind.

Turns out you really can’t buy happiness, but you can step up and volunteer to get it.