Thursday, August 12, 2010


I can recall the slightest nuances of my surroundings the morning of 911: the darkness of the room before sunlight, the fabric of the blouse I wore, even the color of my shoes. I turned the T.V. on and left the room as the newscaster’s startled voices rose to a pitch. I rushed back to witness the impact of a plane as it hit the Twin Towers. I watched the replay over and over again stunned. When an image of the second plane entered the screen and crashed, its impact was more devastating than the first. It was clear that our country had been attacked. Then those massive buildings collapsed into an enormous cloud of dust, a moving remnant of the remains. The horror on the faces of those it chased throughout the New York streets, stole my sense of security. While they raced for refuge, I longed for a retreat as well.

With most disasters, one can file away the images and return to routine. The impact is short-lived. This was different. The reports of security blunderings and rise of extremists were alarming. Our lives were not temporarily changed. This was permanent. The constant diet of report after report left me feeling disheartened about humanity and the future. The political world appeared disconnected from reality. There was a residue of uneasiness and uncertainty. The remnants of 911 spread from days into months into years.

Some years later, on a Saturday evening, I turned on CNN. The images of ordinary people moved across the screen. It drew my attention. I leaned in. These people were being honored for extraordinary contributions to humanity. Their humble backgrounds were being outlined along with the pivotal point in wich they decided to make a commitment to relieve other's sufferings. I choked up hearing how each had taken a step outside themselves to notice a unique need. Not only did they see a crack in our social strata but their hearts lead them to take the necessary steps to make a change. Each one’s contribution was unique. Each brought comfort and help to the forgotten. My spirits lifted.

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
- Mother Theresa
My Retirement Plan would be incomplete if I failed to make a contribute to others. How could I make an impact upon the world even if it were microscopic? The heroes and I were separated by one factor. They took action. I wanted to do the same. Volunteer became my last column.

I am drawn to working at Crystal Cove as a docent in the tide pools. The intricate balance of life in those habitats and the the geology surrounding them interests me. I could combine my teaching background with a new adventure. Teaching children a reverence for living things would ripple into the future. So I included Crystal Cove in the column.
The lack of financial support for teachers, due to our current financial crisis, leaves many of my teaching friends without support. Since reading is my area of interest, I plan to help organize their reading programs. I typed Alvarado under Crystal Cove.

There is another area I would like to explore. I have a desire to volunteer for an organization or political cause that advances the welfare of children. Right now it is an unknown Yet as I volunteer in these other areas, I will wait for it to reveal itself.

Stare into a bucket of water until your reflection appears. Then gently pour the reflection out onto the ground. Soon it will evaporate and become a cloud. Then it will rain and you will be part of the great cycle of replenishments and growth.

--Michael Leung

The structure of my plan is complete. Yet it is just that, a plan, a start. It remains on my desktop as a guide. I intend for it to be flexible and serve as a resource. As I put it into practice, I will delete those that are not a match and include others in its place.

Hmm…I just reread it. I need a nap!

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