So I just volunteered for something else.
I've been volunteering once a week with my local sanctuary movement. A woman who is undocumented has taken up residence with her two children in a local church, and the church is thus staffed with two volunteers at all times in case ICE shows up. (Her husband is also undocumented but has to keep working to support the family; he lives an hour or so away and comes to the church on weekends.) It's a good gig as far as volunteering goes in that I can feel like I'm helping the world in a tiny way but also get work done as I sit here in the church basement. (I'm blogging as I sit here this morning.) Every once in awhile, of course, I'm called upon to do something more active; the last time I was here, the mom had just gone to the hospital with what turned out to be a gall bladder attack, and I was thrust into some babysitting, as I was once before when the mom was meeting with her lawyer. But mostly I just sit here and work.
I've been doing this once a week while on sabbatical, but I'll have to rethink my schedule once school starts again. It's one thing to be here on a Monday morning when the rest of my week is unscheduled; it will be another thing to volunteer in the evening after a long day of teaching, or to spend one of my precious weekend days here.
In the meantime, I'm still the editor of my temple's "journal of Jewish ideas," which I enjoy for the most part.
But yesterday, I added something else to the volunteer mix. I wasn't even asked -- just offered. My temple has been going through major renovations this year, and one of the many fabulous changes will be that the main hall got a serious facelift and will now be a lovely spot for gathering, with a coffee bar and beautiful built-in bookshelves in one corner.
Yesterday was the temple's annual meeting, and afterward the rabbi gave anyone who wanted a tour of the not-yet-opened remodeled areas. And I was so excited about the beautiful book shelves -- especially since the old library was pretty grotty and didn't actually have many books that anyone would want to read -- that I asked him if the temple had a librarian or a library committee.
You can see where this is leading, right?
So now I'm the head of the new library committee, and I'm pretty jazzed about it!
This means that if I feel overwhelmed at some point in the fall as I'm back to teaching full-time, I have no one but myself to blame! But I'm fine with this (she says now), because I've loved getting more involved in my temple.
The trick, of course, will be to be busy enough but not too much. We'll see how that goes.