For several years now, I have served as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem — a GAL — for children in the dependency court system. I work with the brilliantly dedicated people of the Guardian ad Litem Program to advocate for the best interests of children removed from their parents/families and in the care of the State. As a volunteer, I am assigned to the children in a case and I stay on that case until its resolution. I cannot tell you details of the cases I have served on or am on now, but I would like to share something about what it has taught me and that is this: Showing up matters. I am a flipping volunteer and in many respects, the least significant cog in the great machinery that is the dependency system. But I show up and I keep showing up, wherever the twists and turns of the case may go and do you know why? Because kids matter and showing up lets them know that. My consistent, persistent presence helps in a limited, but powerful way. It is heart wrenching and rewarding. It stretches my capacity to understand and to be understanding. Frankly, sometimes I wonder why I do it. Mostly though, I wonder how I can do more. And, Jennifer, if you ever see this, I hope you know how much you inspire me. I wish we would win the lottery and change the world together.

Day 28

Writing about what sings to me from a life made full with animals.

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