Arlette Mershad - Grade 8, Incarnation Catholic School
Playing a Joyful Song
Volunteering can be a way to spiritually satisfy yourself while also bringing joy to those around you. For just a few hours of your day, you can make a change in your community. There was one instance when I was at the Saint Leonard’s Retirement and Nursing Care Facility. My Piano Instructor volunteered for us to play in a recital with other fellow students from my piano class. It was during the Christmas holiday season.
When we were at Saint Leonard’s, we played various selected holiday songs for the residents. Each of us played a song which we had been practicing for many weeks before. There were a lot of residents who came to the auditorium. Many of the women and men who attended arrived on their own, while others, unable to make the journey, and were assisted by members of the community staff. All of them were watching us attentively as we each played the many familiar tunes. It didn’t matter to them that some of us made occasional mistakes. Both during and after my opportunity to play, I saw some of the attendees even participating and singing softly with joyful smiles or glowing expressions on their faces. I am sure it was not only our songs or because it was the Christmas Holiday which was making them happy. I could also imagine in these short moments, some of them had their thoughts somewhere else. They may have been remembering the many memories of years gone by when they were somewhere else, together with their loved ones and families. The feeling was indescribable when all the people were applauding and when they showed kindness to us.
After we had finished our performance, we all made a line and sang Merry Christmas to the residents. As the residents were going to their rooms we gave each one a rose and a handmade card. It was one final way for us to tell them that we cared and truly wished those Happy Holidays.
It was a very enjoyable time for me doing this service. I have seen firsthand that doing a small act of kindness can bring great joy to others. The feelings I have experienced also drives me to do it more often. I have performed at the same Holiday event many other times at St. Leonard’s and I have continued to volunteer in the community such as with my Girl Scout Troop. I have also done work for my church and all of these experiences have made me grow closer to God. Volunteering has been truly a spiritual experience for me.