Updated: Aug 11, 2022
“Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, 'You owe me.' Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.”
Hāfiz PERSIAN POET
Listening to a podcast, I heard this quote the other day while on my daily walk. It’s one of those times when words are powerful enough to make you stop, reflect and appreciate the meaning behind them.
We live in a world that’s constantly putting a price on things and creating shallow values that will never measure up to this free, amazing gift that is available to all of us who are breathing - the gift of giving without conditions. In our modern society we often call it volunteering. There are those who volunteer without the expectation of receiving something back. But there are also those who give with a hook. You can feel it when someone gives with an agenda…and it can hurt. But when someone gives something to you without any conditions or expectations, it’s a completely different feeling. It’s beautiful. It lights you up. Those are the true givers - those kinds of volunteers - the people who make our world a more rich and full place to be.
We met so many amazing volunteers at the Sound of Music Festival this summer including this special woman Debbie Milner who sets aside valuable time each year to lead a team of volunteers. I had the privilege of interviewing Debbie and her daughter Tori Milner about why they volunteer. Both of them expressed a deep passion for the work and the family connection they feel with other volunteers. What struck me the most was their deep sense of care for others, while talking with them. They shared a story about one person in particular who seemed to be an inspiration to all the volunteers at the Sound of Music. His name is Brandon Waller. Brandon passed away a few weeks before he could volunteer again at the Festival. Tori explained that "he helped everyone. When he finished one task, he would go to another group and help them. And then to another group and another". Brandon sounds like the type of person who would never say, ‘that’s not my job’. It is clear that his love for people made a great impact as did his heart. He gave without condition. Brandon lit every one up that he helped and now he lights up the whole sky.
Thank you Brandon for showing us what truly living, or rather, what truly giving, looks like.