Charting A Course Through Stormy Seas: My Volunteer Experience
As part of an essay contest Friendship Circle volunteers from around the world submitted essays about their volunteering experience. Over a hundred surveys were submitted with 10 coming from the Friendship Circle in Michigan. Here is an essay from volunteer Devori Kroll
The wind howls, torrents of angry rain beat against the thrashing surf, lightning illuminates the dense, dark sky.
Spontaneous, fierce thunder explodes like cannons across the rolling black waves, which rise up and then collapse back into the warm, vengeful waters.
There is a storm out at sea. All hope of survival seems lost.
Then, amid the torrential turmoil, a silent, steady beam of unrelenting light appears. It is a beam of hope, of serenity, of tranquility. The lighthouse watchman at his post shines a continuous dazzling ray of guidance and direction for the schooners below. Without this constant glimmer, all would be lost at sea.
Confusion And Darkness
In the seemingly torrential turmoil of confusion in which we live, my special friend may appear lost and alone. There may be some days when she feels she has many barriers to overcome, which force her to charter unknown waters without a map, with no aiding markers on her turbulent course.
Spiteful insults pour down on my special skipper in heavy, harsh torrents. Spontaneous anger thunderously explodes when my captain takes a longer time to navigate her dinghy through the unpredictable ocean. The crashing waves of dark despair swell to a crescendo.
Calming The Troubled Waters
But then, amongst the tempestuous current, beyond the waves of uncertainty and desolation, a hushed shaft of light appears; a beacon of hope pierces the bleak scene. It is a shining glow of calmness, understanding, and friendship. This beam’s constant presence in the impenetrable foggy air brings a sense of comfort, and a feeling of love. My special sailor can now steer her ship above the crashing waves of loneliness to a place of safety, slice through the cold, whipping gales of wind, and disregard the downpour of verbal pain. With the light’s help, she can rise above the angry waters with pride, and sail along to freedom.
Conquering The Uncharted
Through my involvement with the Friendship Circle, I have been a lighthouse watchman, a skipper’s assistant, a compass and an ocean map. My steady, committed presence on the ocean scene has not been easy, but has been undeniably gratifying. Conquering the uncharted waters together with my special friend has been an exhilarating voyage, with my hand over hers on the wheel, the ocean spray misting our faces.
Making My Light Shine
After my six year watchman stint up in the lighthouse, I am starting to view my shining beam from a new perspective. Initially, I thought that my special sailor needed me to direct her boat on the right path, to show compassion and warmth, to provide companionship and acceptance. But now I see that even more than she needs me, I need her. She infuses my light with vigor and gleam. My special sea captain moves me, inspires me, as she rises yet again to the meet the challenging, raging waves around her. She shows me, by example, to be non-judgmental, to find the joy in life, and to recognize that even stormy weather is for the good. She teaches me about commitment and honesty, and to always find the rainbow at the end of the storm. I am humbled to be her shining light.