A Fulfilling Day

17



A Fulfilling Day

‘Ugh. What a great way to waste my weekend.’  I exclaimed.  I still couldn’t believe the fact that the school made voluntary service compulsory for every student.  I meant was what I could gain from these useless services?  It was 12°C outside and I had to start the flag-selling service at 9 a.m.. This was simply ridiculous.  I was supposed to wake up at noon and enjoy my laid back holiday today, but the service ruined everything.  Reluctantly, I got up from bed and get ready for that “far from voluntary” flag-selling service.

‘It’s freezing outside!  Why people do this voluntarily?  Don’t they have better things to do during weekends?’  I thought to myself.  ‘Well, this service will become part of my extracurricular activities record, so I guess this isn’t completely useless.  Right at 12p.m., I will be completely done with this,’ I shrugged and unwillingly headed to the destination.

The service started at 9a.m. and I didn’t even make any effort to persuade the pedestrians passing by to buy the flag.  I saw other volunteers saying hi to everyone, taking the initiative to walk forward to them, carefully pasting the small stickers on their clothes.  Many of them were rejected by the strangers for multiple times.  Still, their smiling didn’t fade and they refused to give up.  They kept greeting all pedestrians cheerfully, making the same invitation for their kind donations.  At that point, I was quite ambivalent about their acts.  On one hand, I felt like they were so silly that they wasted their epic aspiration on such a trivial activity.  On the other hand, I felt like they were so passionate to serve society, to serve the needy whom they had never met.  They were willing to sacrifice their Saturday morning, repeating the humble request to the people passing by to buy the flag.  I hated to admit this, but I actually appreciated their enthusiasm to serve others.  I then looked at myself. I hadn’t even uttered my first invitation.  The bag that I was holding was empty.  During my 16 years of life, I had never thought about reciprocating society. Immediately, I felt a little bit guilty.  But still, I refused to compensate my indifference in the past.  I still thought that my interests were the most important and I owed nobody any deeds of kindness.  ‘It’s none of my business,’ I tried to convince myself.  It was then this person appeared in front of me.  His good deed gave a slap on my face of vanity. My admiration for him was beyond words.

I guessed he was around my age, or a bit older than me. The largest difference between him and me was that, he had his genuine love and care for those in need, which I found myself lacking.  I was in the midst of the service, estimating impatiently how long I still had to stay there.  This young man really caught my attention.  He was also one of the many volunteers of that day’s service.  However, it was what and how he served others made him different.  He was helping a skinny hunchback old woman to carry her cardboards.  I could assure you that it was not a trivial task.  The cardboards he was carrying weighted at least a dozen pounds or more.  There was no way he could do it effortlessly.  Still, he carried the cardboards for the weak old lady. Out of my curiosity, I followed them to see where they were heading to.

I heard a bit of the conversation.  The young man was introducing himself to the lady.  I observed the interaction between them.  They certainly didn’t know each other.  It was the young gentleman who volunteered to help the elderly lady to lighten her load. This was very surprising to me.  I had never thought that anyone would offer help to people that they didn’t know, especially when the task was much far from being a piece of cake.  His strength and sweat sacrificed would surely get no return.  But then, the young man just kept walking with the old lady, chatting with her about her daily life.  Were the cardboards always so heavy?  Had she had her breakfast yet?  His questions showed his genuine concern for the lady.

This scene definitely gives me food for thought.  How generous one has to be, that he can do a total stranger such a generous favour?  How selfless one has to be, that he can be so devoted to helping others?  That young gentleman impresses me and leaves me in deep reflection.  How self-centred I am, that I can watch people suffer with folded arms?  What a distorted value I have been clinging to.  I thought doing voluntary services was a waste of time?  What can I do to compensate for my fallacious belief and selfish deeds in the past?  What can I do?

I kept following them and found them in a rather dirty alley.  What they did made me stand in stunned silence.  They were collecting cardboards together!  To be exact, it was that young man who collected the cardboards for the old lady!  His actions spoke loud to manifest the best role model for a good person doing good deeds.  To convert my guilt into constructive actions that could help others, I walked up to the alley. This time, I could feel my sincere heart for contributing my effort to help this old lady.  Spending nearly an hour working in a dark dirty alley, I kept huffing and puffing and I was soon soaked in sweat.  I felt exhausted.  However, never in my life had I felt more satisfied

At the end of the service day, my bag was still empty.  However, my heart was fulfilled with a fruitful experience in which I learnt one of my most valuable lessons in life.