Today was my first day as a volunteer for Hospice. On my way to meet my first patient, I asked myself why I was doing this. The answer was obvious. For years I have lived away from family. I keep to myself so close friendships are few and far between. It’s always been hard for me to let someone in. One thing that never changes is sometimes I just feel lonely. Sometimes I want to know someone is there to support me and to show they care. That is my purpose now. To be that person. The welcoming smile, the dependable visit, the ear that listens to the heart longing to speak. My first visit was to the Veterens Center. It was the first time I’ve ever been in one. It was obvious how everyone there appreciated a new face, a warm hello, a silent moment of eye contact. These people have every reason to feel discouraged, depressed, maybe even angry. The truth is they were happy and friendly and considerate of each other. My heart broke as my sweet man told me his story of how he lost his leg. As we talked, he waved and smiled at all the workers repeating again and again how wonderful and helpful they all were. He told me how lucky he was to have a safe place to lay his head and three hot meals waiting for him everyday. A sweet girl with pretty braids brought him a cup of coffee. He held it to his nose for a minute and took a sip. He closed his eyes and took that moment to be completely grateful for that warm cup of coffee. That coffee reminded me that there is always something to be grateful for. If we make it a daily practice to appreciate the simple things, imagine how grateful we will feel for the really big things. We have a choice to complains about everything that is wrong or to feel grateful for all that is right. I learned a lot today but most importantly that it feels good to serve. It feels good to donate my time in honor of someone else and to be the smile on the receiving side of a friendly wave. I’ve learned that we all need someone to talk to and something to look forward to. I’ve learned that we have so much time wasted on things that don’t matter and not nearly enough time spent on the people sitting across from us. Smile at someone today. Start a conversation with a stranger. Make eye contact. Be THAT person and notice the difference you make.