Act Without Expectation

Act without expectation. —Lao Tzu

by Rachael Dupree

Act without expectation. —Lao Tzu (
Courtesy iStock/Thinkstock

Have you ever met a person whose selflessness seems to be never ceasing? It’s the person who you can depend on to watch over your farm and milk the goats twice daily should business take you away, or the gracious couple who continuously opens up their home and lovingly prepares meals for their neighbors. You might find folks like these at your local soup kitchen or reading to children at the town library, and their happiness seems to come one place and one place only: bringing joy to others.

Perhaps you’ve been the direct recipient of the kindness of a person like this, or maybe you’ve only observed how they’ve moved in your community. Whichever it is, there’s no mistaking: It’s the work of these unrelenting altruists that makes our communities tick.

This week, we celebrate National Volunteer Week, a time to thank the hard-working people who are using their time and energy to improve our communities without asking for anything in return. I’ve had the opportunity to know and work alongside a number of volunteers. Volunteers come in a diverse array of ages, backgrounds and talents, but there’s one quality that each and every one possesses: lack of expectation.

When I see volunteers teaching classes in their community gardens, helping out on their neighbors’ farms or delivering food to the hungry, they never ask for anything in return. They see a need, and they fill it. It’s as simple as that. The lack of expectation—of wanting anything in return for their generosity—is what makes the work they do so pure and so special.

Today, I could give you a list of the ways that you could give back to your community, but I have an inkling that you’re already working selfless magic in your own little way in your nook of the world. Instead, I want to use this space to thank the people who I see moving mountains in my own community. Thank you Jennifer, Erica, Sarah, John. Keep up the work Christian, Tanya, Emily, Betsy. Never give up Bob, Lisa, Jamie, Savannah. You’re awesome Nguyet, Lindsie, Lisa,Karen.  I could list on and  on and on the beautiful faces that I see every day putting their heart and soul into making farms, food systems and the world we live in that much better—I guess, I’m lucky in that way. Thanks guys.

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Who are the volunteers making a difference where you live? Give them a shoutout below!

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