Friday, September 14, 2018

The downside to service and an extraction plan

I have watched from the outside once or twice and come to the understanding that it is possible to be too selfless. It is possible to do to much in the service of others, so that the system is actually made worse.

I am no saint; and any of the things I do for other people up purely by choice. An upside is that it can be my choice to discontinue service. There is a personal cost. Talents that one can take outside and convert into thousands of dollars or personal reward - those talents are used to benefit communities that really don't know the value of what they are receiving. When a person starts to dwell too much on those things, it's time to leave. And so it's time to leave.

But a more insidious effect comes when a community benefits from volunteer efforts that are concentrated in too few people. The community never really gets to take charge of its own stuff. The kids get to stay kids and the volunteer adults become further entrapped. There's a time for the young ones to take over.

It's when I make decisions in the cold light of day that those decisions are most far-reaching. I had a moment of clarity last night where I coolly decided to extract myself from a particular branch of volunteer service that I've been doing for about 5 years. Instead of a polite thank you I was requested to pursue an ever decreasing spiral of minor errors.

And so I have arrived at a better idea. I think I'll stop doing this altogether. It will take me about 8 months to extract myself from this area of volunteering, however the decision has given me a sense of peace. And I'll have extra time and headspace for the next crusade. The extraction begins.