Last week, as part of my service "obligations" in being a member of a local Kiwanis chapter, I volunteered to serve on the advisory board for Aktion Club, and help serve at the Aktion Club event. Aktion Club, simply, is a service club for adults with disabilities, and is sponsored through Kiwanis. For those interested, more can be learned here.
Anyway, last week was their monthly program, and with it being Valentine's day, the program consisted of various group folk dances, taught and led by an individual brought in for such purposes. Generally, these types of things are outside of my comfort zone - I am naturally introverted, whereas such activities require you to be extroverted; I'm usually quiet in social settings around people I don't know, never been good at the small talk / chit-chat thing. But the thing I truly enjoy about Kiwanis, and by extension this Aktion Club, and by further extension, all service activities, is that it pushes you out of that box, to stop being so self-conscious (and in some ways, self-centered), and to think about others and worry about others more than yourself.
As as many things go when you step out of one's box, last Tuesday night proved to be a very rewarding experience. I didn't do anything spectacular, just serving dinner and cleaning up; but such simple things help facilitate the program and allow the spectacular things to happen. For me, that spectacular was witnessing the amount of joy the participants in the program had during the program. It truly was something special. For me, its a reminder to take pleasure in the simple stuff, to not be overly self-conscious, and to step outside one's self-imposed limitations from time to time.
It also served to remind me of a ongoing realization, so to speak. I am one who loves to read, discuss, and even argue about religion, politics, society, sports, or any random idea you can think of. But when you watch people coming together, from all different walks of life, abilities, ages, race, etc., and have no walls or boundaries between them, and have true joy together, you realize that while all those ideas can be fun to discuss and ponder at times, in the end, they simply do not have any comparable meaning to the experience of community and the joining of communal and individual joy.