While on Wednesdays, there will be mid-week celebrations, Thursdays will be the time for expressing gratitude. We will return to failing on Fridays.
This week’s gratitude is extended to acquaintances, both acquaintances in general and a specific one.
At the equine therapy center where I volunteer, I have only been present a day or two each week for five weeks. For this reason, I am still a newbie to the organization.
My sister, however, is not. Last spring semester, she was the volunteer coordinator for the organization. Meaning, she was in charge of making sure that the people who did the things I am doing at the center now were in the right places at the right times. So, she directed multiple newbies and old hand-type volunteers. Now, she is well known and respected by the administrative-types in the organization as well as the old volunteers she helped coordinate during the spring volunteer opportunities.
As a newbie volunteer, this puts me in an awkward place of not-just-another-volunteer-but-actually-only-a-volunteer.
Today my gratitude is extended to someone who my sister has developed a strong friendship with at the organization, but who hardly knows me. She is one of the riding instructors, and while I am in an awkward volunteer space, she has always gracefully managed to treat me without any awkwardness. I am acknowledge as someone who is not a background volunteer person, which I technically am, but as someone who does know quite a bit about the organization through my sister, although I do not expect or want to be engaged beyond volunteer responsibilities all the time.
Instead of ignoring me or not including me in conversations, she always makes sure I know that I am appreciated as a volunteer. Since I usually arrive with my sister, who arrives early, and only volunteer for 2 or 3 hours when I am there for 8-10, that alone means a lot. She takes her kindness one step further by including me in snack runs and/or as part of the group that she will share snacks with after the volunteer hours are over.
She is the reason I feel included in and appreciated by the organization, without feeling awkward when I am there and in either the not-yet or have-just-finished volunteering mode.
Acquaintances can make your life miserable for no apparent reason or wonderful for the same lack of reason. I am fortunate enough that in this experience, I have an acquaintance that has chosen to invest some time in me to make sure I feel appreciated and enjoy volunteering.
Here’s to acquaintances that make life wonderful. Thank you!