Monday, November 5, 2012

Not-So-Much-Of-A-Dud Honors Forum

I'm not entirely sure if we're supposed to blog about forum tonight, since our speaker did not show due to helping with Hurricane Sandy, a.k.a. 'Frankenstorm', but to be on the safe side I am blogging anyway.

One might have thought that the forum tonight would have been a dud, but it ended up being rather entertaining as Dr. Brewton vented (as he put it) about various organizations that have ended up disillusioning people who want to do charitable work. As he put it, when that happens you have three options (1) apathy - not recommended (2) starting one's own organization to do the same work - not recommended as it divides the resource pool and (3) hanging in there. I know about hanging in there...

Anyway, our speaker tonight would have been Elizabeth Moore from Red Cross. Dr. Brewton gave us a little info about Red Cross regardless. It of course works in disaster relief, and is primarily known for the blood drives it sponsors and its role as the official liason between the civilian population and the military.

Dr. Brewton also made a point that made me think of a line early on in The Lord of the Rings (then again, a lot of things make me think of LOTR). I'm not in the mood to go up two flights of stairs and hunt down my copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, but it's in the chapter "Three Is Company" when Frodo, Sam, and Pippin encounter Gildor Inglorion. Gildor warns Frodo (and I paraphrase): "The wide world is all about you. You can fence yourself in, but you cannot forever fence the world out." So of course my thoughts went off into la-la land about LOTR and I missed the rest of Dr. Brewton's point. Sorry!

Dr. Brewton then proceeded to call on people at random and ask them what volunteer work they've done so far. I was sure he would call on me, if for no other reason that because I was the only person sitting in the front row. College students seem to have something against sitting in the front row. Maybe they're terrorized of being called upon. It's the same thing in church, too, I notice... Everyone lurks in the back pews and tries to slip out early. Well, not me! I actually prefer to sit in the front. I prefer being attentive (mostly... I have been known to nearly fall alseep in Floyd- in my defense, the room tended to be very warm- and I have headdesked once or twice in speech), and sitting in the front row without rows of people in front of me as potential distractions helps in being attentive.

Plus, in one class I inadvertently chose a desk behind a girl who tended to sit way, way back in her desk with her hair covering half of my writing space. Not anxious to wish that fate upon anyone else, I have developed the habit of leaning forward in my desk. I also usually scoot my desk up a little.

Be that all as it may, if Dr. Brewton had called on me, I would have had a good reply for him. I would have been able to say that every week I go to Merrill Gardens and play the piano for at least 45 minutes for the residents. I had a dedicated few who listened to me every week, but yesterday the time change threw them off, I think. For a while, there was no one in the lobby but the receptionist. That didn't bother me much. (I felt kind of bad that the regular people would be let down at missing it, true.) I love playing the piano in any case- I guess you could say it's a passion, although I don't use that word excessively like most people- and I view music almost as a sacred thing. For someone who has read The Chronicles of Narnia where Aslan creates the world in song and The Silmarillion where the Ainur, with the One, sing the world into being, I cannot view music neutrally. Good music is a holy thing in my eyes. That explains why I have such a visceral reaction to bad music. It is like sacrilege to me. That's how seriously I take it.

However, I was not (semi-)alone in the lobby forever. One resident came and sat to listen to me. She made a point of applauding or otherwise making her approval known after each song. Since she obviously liked hearing me play, I played longer than I have in the past. I only stopped when I ran out of songs. If I had brought more books- and I usually do-, I would have played longer for her, since she liked it so much.

I know it's not a big difference that I'm making in people's lives. I'm not out building houses or distributing food or whatnot. But it's tiny little moments like this that make any hardship worthwhile. I haven't done a big thing. But I brought a bit of joy to an old woman's morning. And, yes, that thought does make me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.

In Pace Christi,


P.S. This is my 190th post. Go me!

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