Unfortunately--or fortunately, as most people would likely agree--it would seem that Oxfam Japan only has one uninspired sap who needs the crutch of others to accomplish anything. My online bulletin board has not met with much enthusiasm. While I’ve been imagining long, active threads where we volunteers would exchange ideas, offer feedback and criticisms, and get motivated, the reality is that my fellow volunteers have been doing just fine without any help; while I've been dithering about online, everyone else has been out there, getting real things done.
Sorry if this is a bit whiny, but I feel so discouraged. It seems my initial reaction of doubt about my ability to do much for Oxfam Japan was well founded. I was right: I lack the necessary qualities for this particular environment.
I’ve always been a background support kind of girl. I adored singing in the choir but performing solos made me nauseated. When our drama class did a production, I was in the sound effects department, not up there on stage. Though I’m too proud (and foolishly so) to be a follower, I’ve never had the heart of a leader. I hate giving orders as much as I hate being ordered, and I'd be a hopeless, floppy mess if I tried to gather people together for a rousing rally or fundraiser. So when I came upon the idea of a bulletin board, I felt charged with a real purpose. I thought I could do something that, if not loud and proud, might at least have indirect, long-term benefits.
When I check in on my message board from time to time, the lack of response from the other volunteers feels like a personal failure. In some ways, volunteering can be more intimidating than any regular job, because you are offering your self on a fundamental level for something more important than personal satisfaction or gain. You’re forced to ask yourself: What is my value? What can I do for a community, for a human being, for an organization that needs help?
I may not have initiative or creativity, but—at the risk of sounding like I’m at my first job interview—I’m a hard worker. I feel like somewhere very close by, parallel to my own path is a whole other road that I should be on, doing something more, giving something more of my self. And I would, if only I could find the connecting lane. Sometimes I get so wound up because it feels like every second I spend living is wasted. Some people depend upon religion to give them the reassurance that there is more to life, more than life. I’ve never cared or worried about what comes after. For me, only life now matters and we are free to use it or let it be snatched out of our hands like litter dangled out of a speeding car’s window. I guess this kind of thinking could lead to insanity. But anyone who’s read my blog long enough probably can tell, this restlessness and dissatisfaction sweeps in and out of my life--self preservation, I guess. Because at the core, I'm essentially a selfish person. Don't ever let these little blips of conscience make you think otherwise.