There are certain moments in life that define who we are.
Seldom are they easy to spot, and it’s usually not until later in life that we realize they occurred at all. They can affect many, or sometimes just one, and their true impact can vary for everyone.
Yet, no matter the degree, these defining moments present us with an opportunity to make a change, to leave a legacy and to transform for the better. Ultimately, they are chances to make a difference in our lives and others. Unfortunately, they are ignored far too often.
So many times in my life, I found myself personally wondering what was my purpose. After trying to fill it with education, a job, friends and family, I realized I was still missing something.
They were all great, but I felt unfulfilled. As a man of faith, religion was the closest I got towards filling that hole, and it led me to opening my mind, eyes and heart.
It also led me to a homeless shelter. In January 2013, I volunteered at the Morning Glory Café in downtown Kansas City. For three hours, we prepared food for the less fortunate and served them a hot meal.
At that moment, while watching hungry men, women and children receive a short respite from their crest-fallen lives, I was changed. It felt like, for once, I was actually making a difference in someone else’s existence. I was helping those who truly needed it and it gave me a feeling of unabashed happiness.
To put it plainly, I was doing something that mattered. I was improving others’ lives like never before, and I knew there was so much more I could give.
Since then, I haven’t stopped. I’ve tried to center my life around helping others and it changed who I am — for the better. That’s why I help. That’s why I volunteer. That’s why I care.
Why do you care? Celebrate National Volunteer Week by sharing with us your fondest community service memory at [email protected].
Written by Brent Lager.