Our first volunteering day

volunteering at Amida MandalaOur first volunteering day at the temple. Kaspa & I got up early to get things ready – cleaning materials, hedge clippers, ingredients to make lunch for lots of people, a long list of things to do.

We had let people know that we were starting at 10am. We sat nervously in the dining room at 9.45am. 9.50am. Nobody arrived. 9.55am. 10am. 10.10am. Still just the two of us.

I felt a great heaviness. I just knew it. We were going to have to carry the temple & grounds on our own. It was too much.

For a few minutes we wondered what was the best thing to do. After asking the Buddhas, we both reported back with the same answer. Just get on with it.

Kaspa got the hedge clippers out. I started printing leaflets. The heaviness left me. By the time I started dusting the kitchen ceiling I was feeling cheerful.

At 11.30am James popped his head round the door and said that he was free today after all. He picked up the hedge clippers. David arrived with his son Nathan. Jnanamati arrived. Izzy, Mike, Steve, Clare, Tina, Emma…

By the end of the day both hedges were trimmed back, a garden wall was rescued from under a great spaghetti of old ivy, all the bathrooms were deep cleaned, the kitchen annexe was totally cleared, we’d made 5 trips to the tip and one to a charity shop, the clock was put up in the library… everything from the list and more. We ate bean stew & Clare’s lovely blueberry muffins and we laughed and laughed.

If we are alone, that is okay. We don’t have to do more than we can do. We can turn on the radio and attack the cobwebs.

But of course we are never really alone. Even if nobody had come yesterday, we are in people’s thoughts and in their hearts.

Our next volunteer day is on the 22nd of February. Join us?

Hurray for sangha. Namo Amida Bu.