Returning Joy

The days I worked for nothing
but the joy
of having made a difference
were the happiest of my life.

The purpose which propelled me
to get up each day, the knowledge
I was part of something big,
however small.

And though I didn’t know it then,
the little acts of kindness I received
would stay with me
for all these years to come:

The homeless man who taught me
that a smile could melt the harshest winter,
or the colleague in the busy office
who pretended not to notice
that I couldn’t work
without a stress ball in my hand;
the skills I gleaned
from other people’s patience
as they filtered good from my mistakes.

I learnt so many things
that far outweigh the ticks on my C.V

I learnt the greatest value
of my volunteering
was the joy it brought to me

Jo McFarlane
Volunteer and Poet