I often wonder if the things I am passionate about are good enough. Who else cares about National Parks as much as I? At one point, Edward Abbey would’ve beat me out, but he’s dead now. When I think about the fact that I’ve refocused my attention from my volunteer pursuits with Team Sarcoma and Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation, and moved them to the National Park Service, I wonder who and what I’m letting down.
About 8 months ago I decided to take a break from volunteering actively with Team Sarcoma and the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation to go a more lighthearted direction and volunteer at the visitors center at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Elverson, PA, about an hour from my home. This weekend was the first weekend that I struggled with that decision. As my close widow friends gathered for Camp Widow East, I missed them, I missed the interaction with the organization, I wanted to buy a plane ticket and head straight to Myrtle Beach, but I couldn’t. There were no reasonably priced plane tickets (yes, I checked), and I was committed to attend the volunteer appreciation picnic at the historic site at the start of National Park week.
It was a good decision.
Today I was given 2 certificates – one with my maiden name, and one with my married name, along with a good harassment from Frank, the volunteer coordinator at the site. I’m really happy I am volunteering there. My dream of one day becoming a park ranger has not gone away, and I wonder if it may just start there. Tweets from gals attending Camp Widow made me miss them and wish I was there, but dinner with local friends last night ebbed away some of those disappointment thoughts.
Cancer and grief organizations are of great importance to me. Without these organizations and people having entered my life, I can’t imagine what kind of mental state I would be in today. But, taking a break from being actively involved in them has given me a chance to regain focus on the living, the thriving, the good in the world. Being consumed with sorrow all the time is not healthy.
Volunteering for the NPS helps me feel alive, active in a community, and a part of the preservation of the country and land that I love. So yes, that’s pretty important. It’s life or death, but in a whole different realm – environmentally.