Service Above Self

It’s been a long year or two with many changes in my life, most of them not pleasant.  But my friend Dan Ryan perceived both a need for a new distraction and an opportunity to take advantage of my famous relentlessness.  He recruited me to be part of an organizing group for what became the Waldo-Brookside Rotary Club.

Somehow, a woman who is going blind and deaf got elected secretary.  How funny.  I last held office in 1982 for a legal fraternity.  I got elected treasurer.  That astounded me since I’m terrible at budgeting and cannot add or subtract without a calculator.  If memory serves, either I had gone to the restroom or was in the kitchen flirting with somebody when nominees were taken and the vote tendered.

This time, I offered to take notes at the first meeting and emerged as the only one willing to be the secretary.  I struggle to hear everyone during the meetings and then my busy schedule relegates the typing of the minutes to the day before the next week’s meeting.  But I love it, even if I’m a terrible officer.  Our group is the largest ever to be formed in the district.  We’ve already had our first formal speakers, and found a permanent home.

Today, we received word that our charter has been approved.  Now we can open our bank account and start picking programs to support, local, nationwide, and international.  I’ve learned some astonishing facts about the efforts of Rotary International, which has become one of the most respected organizations in the world.  I find myself drawn to its motto of “service above self”.  Helping others has been my life since my high school days, when I tutored adults trying to get their GEDs.  I think I might be the perfect Rotarian.  I like nothing better than putting my shoulder to a boulder and pushing it out of the way so that those less able than myself can move forward.

It’s going to be a lot of work, but I am not complaining.   I feel the tide turning.  I won’t abandon my own projects — providing a venue for artists, and raising money for programs which help victims of domestic violence.  I might even find a way to harmonize these avenues of community service.  I expect to be reaching my hand out to Dan in thanks for that e-mail he sent me inviting me to attend the first exploratory meeting.  I scoffed but he has been vindicated.  Thank you, Dan.  Thank you.


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