Altruism is the word used for when a person or animals behaviour is unselfish, and they devote themselves to the welfare of others. It’s caring for, being empathetic towards, and showing compassion when you can gain nothing from doing so.
Research has shown that us as humans have very strong tendencies to go either way – selfish, or altruistic – sometimes we manage to attain a healthy motion between the two. And so it’s very much a case of ‘having an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other’ – the concept of deciding which voice we will choose to listen to in any given situation.
The purpose of this post is actually not because of the virus that is attacking our world at the moment – and yet it is.
Because today, quite randomly, is ‘Volunteer Recognition Day‘.
Here in South Africa at the moment, even if you can provide essential services as a volunteer, your options are minimal. The lock down here is stricter than anywhere else in the world. And to be quite honest, when I hear some of the ‘rules’ being spewed that are to be imposed on us, my brain becomes quite baffled at the logic behind it all.
But I shan’t complain… not really. It would just be of great help if everyone was actually being forced to follow… and not just a minority of us. Or perhaps I should be thinking more along the lines of if everyone would just jolly well OBEY the darn rules, as ridiculously and stupidly tough as a lot of them are!
I had a conversation yesterday with a paramedic, who reached out to me just to talk. It was a difficult conversation, because sometimes there just aren’t words to offer in response to what is being said.
The gist of it was that he is naturally ‘being forced’ to work during this outbreak, and he doesn’t want to. What you need to know is that he is truly a caring and compassionate man, who does a lot of volunteer work in his free time. Sometimes, I wonder if he ever sleeps? It made my heart sad. Because he has been so unselfish for so many years, and this virus has pushed him to a breaking point.
I know that those who are in ‘essential services’ have chosen their particular career. I know that this is part of their life choice with regards to their futures.
But I also know that they are sacrificing a lot more than those of us who are locked up in our homes… and just because they ‘chose’ to be doctors and nurses and emergency services, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the greatest amount of respect and compassion that we can give them.
So for today, I am counting them as ‘volunteers’ too.
And thanking them, from the bottom of my butt (because it’s bigger than my heart, physically) 😛
Every person on the forefront of the war with this virus : I salute you. I appreciate you. I pray for you. I wish I could help you. I am grateful for you.