Today is the day. The day that every volunteer dreads. The day of departure has arrived. It can go without saying that it is sad. That much is a given. It signals a end the this trip.
Feeling strangely out of place as their comrades get ready for their day of assisting in recovery efforts, the departing volunteers (a list that today includes Bill Sr., Kerry, Monkey Mike, Sarah and Sarah’s Mom, Steve, me, and quite a few others) say their last good-byes. Inevitably, these good-byes are accompanied by promises to stay in touch and to come back soon—promises that unlike similar pledges mouthed at graduations, career-moves, and vacation-ends will undoubtedly be kept.
My flight is not until 11:19, so I try to prove I still belong and am not totally useless by transporting a small group to a job site and later by taking Steve to the airport for his flight back to Germany. The car rides are both, as all have been here, good for discussions—what do you think will happen to Handson after the merger, why is this so fun?, how long are you staying? How long have you been here?, what is the “it” that makes this so special? Or any of a zillion other topics.
As we near the airport, the country radio station plays Clay Walker’s Circle of Love. The song, which has long been one of my favorites, centers on a man named Joe who offers help to someone in need. When the helped party offers to pay, Joe refuses the money. As in life, the good Joe’s good deed sets off a chain of good events as one person spreads to good deeds of others. (I do not want to give it away the song so I will end there, but if you have not heard it, I would recommend either downloading it or reading the lyrics.
"You don't owe me a thing, I've been there too. Someone once helped me out, Just the way I'm helping you. If you really want to pay me back, Here's what you do. Don't let the chain of love end with you"