Friday, April 8, 2011

Sargosso 2

The paperwork arrived the other day for me to sign up to become a hospice volunteer. There was more to it than I expected. I figured all that was needed was a desire to do the job.

Apparently, not.

Reasonably, not. Shuffling off the mortal coil leaves you vulnerable. The news is full of stories about people who take advantage of the dying: thieves, rapists, con artists.

And to be honest, the soon to be deceased aren't always in a good place to make decisions. A few of the people I've given rides to through the Cancer society were so glad to talk to someone; so glad to have a little human contact. I could see where they might misplace some feelings, maybe pass along valuables better intended for grandchildren or friends, write checks when they shouldn't.

So... They're going to do a background check. They've also asked for personal reference. I've already gotten two friends to sign on to stand up for me -and on a lark, I sent a note to one of the guys at Mountain Stage, asking if he wouldn't mind being one of my personal reference. My name gets muttered darkly over there from time to time.

It seemed funny at the time. If he turns me down I'll pick somebody else.

There's more than just the background check. I'm also invited to get Hepatitis B shots on their dime. That sounds like a lot of fun and after this is all over, the class starts in October. If I make the cut and take the classes, I don't know how fast they'd put me to work, but I was given a list of possible job titles.

Some of these job titles are quite grim. The worst is Kid's Path Companion Volunteer. It's the one that sends a chill up my spine and makes me tear up just reading the description.

"Supports the Kid's Path patient and family in home setting or Hubbard Hospice House. Also rocks children as needed."

I believe I have found that thing which I do not want to do but must.

Presuming, I don't get assigned to help with the gardening.

I will not do this because I believe in God or because I don't. I am not doing it because there is some sort of cosmic merit or brownie points in taking on this kind of a job. I'm a Buddhist. Karma doesn't precisely work the way it's popularly portrayed. It's only action and I do not expect to benefit from this action in any tangible way.

Because I do this, nobody is going to love me any more than they already do. Because I do this, my life is not going to be happier. I will not grow taller or live longer because of this and if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I don't think it's going to get me a better seat for the next show.

I am not doing this because I believe this will make me feel better or that it will ease the awful weight on my own heart. This might be one of the most self-destructive things I've ever done, but maybe if I do it, the world around me will seem a little better. Maybe it will be a little closer to the world I wish I lived in.

That's about all I can really hope to get out of this.

1 comment:

Autumn Dawn said...

I once tried to volunteer at the Va in beckley, I was already there for work, and offered to stay & read to some of the patients. I met with similar bureaucracy & red tape. You're right it obviously serves a purpose but it was so frustrating to see all those lonely hurting vets & not be able to help. I commend you. Whatever your motivation it is a noble & lovely gesture.