This! This Story! This is one of my greatest hopes for those that volunteer at NeighborLink and for those asking for help. Authentic connections between individuals that move from a transactional experience towards a relational one. That’s it. Where it goes or how long it lasts is not as big of a deal as the fact that it has the opportunity to happen. We simply want neighbors to connect and get to know one another to form a mutually beneficial connection.
Mary chose to get involved at NeighborLink, looked through the projects with help of her friend and NL staff member, Lyndsy, chose a project, and happened to connect to Mrs Kolde, who needed some housekeeping help. Mary says in the podcast that the first time helping Mrs Kolde lasted for several hours as she cleaned and Mrs Kolde shared parts of her story. That conversation has led to dozens of mutually engaging connections since. Mrs Kolde is as interested in getting to know Mary as Mary is Mrs Kolde. They share a love for beautiful environments, telling descriptive stories, experiencing the world around them, and helping others. Mrs Kolde has a long history of being active in her neighborhood, various organizations, and she still shovels snow as far as she can in either direction of her home as she physically can at over 80 years old. Mary certainly helps Mrs Kolde with some tangible needs like housekeeping, but I’m sure Mary would share how Mrs Kolde helps her with her things as well.
I can’t urge you to listen to this podcast enough. We have dozens of other stories of how volunteerism has led to relationships like this one. Not all relationships last, nor should they, but they should be attempted. Any connection works like any other relational connection. Life happens for both parties involved, the relationship gets disrupted, or becomes out of balance. However, what’s important from this story to me is how open Mary was to intentionally connecting with the person she set out to help. Mary was certainly going to get to know the person she was going to help while she served. It just happened in this case that Mrs Kolde met her with similar enthusiasm. In the brief hour we spent together, it was remarkable how kindred their spirits seemed to be from what I could pick up on. Is this relationship perfect, not sure, but I suspect that it’s as perfect as any friendship is or could be. They all take work and a mutual desire to work out. But, it’s exciting to me to see happen. This kind of connection gives us energy at NL because it’s bringing life to both people.
One last thing that I loved about this story is the connection between Lyndsy and Mary. Mary and Lynsdy share about it in the podcast, and I think it’s also an important part. Mary talks about seeing the energy Lyndsy gets from being a part of helping others through their ongoing conversations as being a motivator for choosing to volunteer at NeighborLink. It was a reminder for me to be aware of what’s getting my friends attention and what’s bringing them joy. Maybe the way to find joy in my life is by joining them in what’s bringing their joy. Maybe you could take that lesson as well and invite yourself to join your friends in their efforts as a pathway to finding your own way.
There are far too many interesting people that we get the privilege to meet at NeighborLink. I wouldn’t have imagined meeting someone like Mrs Kolde any other way nor Mary. Both incredible women living ordinary lives with great intention to be the best neighbor they can be. Your neighbors are incredible, get to know them any way you can.