simple pleasure of good cheer
Today I experienced the pure pleasure of the simplest of volunteer jobs – supporting Run4Shelter, a fundraising event for Our Haven Shelter. I was stationed with my friend Julie Lowe at an intersection on Kent Island, with a goal of directing runners at the eight mile of their 10K run.
We woke before dawn and drove an hour. I didn’t like that part so much, but once the sun rose it was great to be out. We didn’t even go to the event headquarters, but went straight to our post. It’s a highly organized event, so team captains and such checked in on us, but for the most part, it was just she and I, each on a different side of the intersection.
We sat and talked, jumped around and danced in the street, pretended to jog with the runners and mostly just laughed and cheered them on.
“Hey – you just burned 1400 calories!” “Look how FIT you are!” “Go-go-go!” “I’m rooting for YOU #281!, YOU!” “You guys look great!” “You’re not even sweating!”
They smiled. They thanked us. I got at least ten high fives.
And at the end, we just got in our car and went home.
But here’s the thing.
I feel better off having done that. Smiling and congratulating all those people improved MY life, made my weekend brighter.
How cool is that?
Something contagious happened there.
I once read that if you force yourself to smile, even when you don’t want to, your mood elevates.
As an event organizer (of Shelter Century), I always thought it was a crummy job – being stationed out at a rest stop, somewhere far from the main event. Today, I learned what a fun experience that job can be – giving directions and good cheer, and gaining so much at the same time.
(Of course, it wasn’t raining.)
So if you live around here, keep that in mind on October 19th, when over 450 cyclists will take off down the streets of St. Michaels, heading to Claiborne, Sherwood, Neavitt, Royal Oak, Bellevue and through Travelers Rest for The Talbot Interfaith Shelter. Or on September 21st, when hundreds more will cycle the roads of Talbot County on the Oxford and south sides, supporting the good works of the MidShore Riverkeeper Conservancy in Tour de Talbot.
If you see them, give a wave or a cheer.
It just might make your own day.
It’s definitely making the day for that nonprofit, bringing unrestricted dollars straight into their bank account.
Congratulations to the good people of Our Haven Shelter, who had a very successful event today. All those happy runners! And hopefully a very large sum of money raised to shelter homeless men, women and kids on Kent Island.