"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

Best Day entry: With volunteers like these, every day is the best

By on December 22, 2019 in Uncategorized with 0 Comments

By Ceci Wood 

Just last week, a friend I hadn’t seen in quite awhile stopped by my office, just to say “Hi” after visiting a relative in the hospital. 

My friend asked me, “What do you do here?” and after I told him he asked me, “Why”? 

I thought maybe he was asking if I got bonuses or incentives like a gym membership.

I didn’t have to give it much thought, but quietly queried myself on how I could explain that every day is the best day for me. 

Not to downplay the delightful staff at Confluence Health, but the volunteers here at Confluence Health who I get to work with are what make my days the best.

Ceci Wood holds a photo of Merla Ferguson, a hospital volunteer who would shrug off the aches, pains and limitations thrown at her daily in her quest to help others.

I think of volunteers like Helen, who treated me like a daughter. Helen would remember our chats and always inquire about the smallest of details while giving advice and encouragement. 

Even when Helen wasn’t feeling her best, she devoted four hours a week to greeting patients, employees and family members. 

Helen volunteered since 1981, passing away in December 2018. Helen left a legacy of 37 years of volunteering. 

I think of
chaplain volunteer Steve, who stops by each Friday after chaplain hospital rounds to devotedly share with me the transformation in himself. He reminds me that being a volunteer chaplain is just one of the many ways we are healing our patients, families and employees. 

Then I also reflect on volunteers who are my personal heroes, the ones I’ve been privileged to witness their character. 

Volunteer Susan pushes herself to help others, because as she says, “I won’t let anything keep me from making someone else’s load a little lighter.” Susan suffers from debilitating rheumatoid arthritis. 

Paul was in a horrific car accident but tends to shrug off his misfortune by focusing on others. “I have to live life,” he says, “I can do that by helping others.” 

I’ve met so many volunteers who are inspirational, in the way they view life, in the way they overcome, and in the way they strive to quietly serve and make the world around them better. 

Little did they know that they are making my days the best.

Volunteer Merla, who passed away last fall, her body was failing her due to age, just would shrug off the aches, pains and limitations thrown at her daily. 

I had prodded Merla on several occasions to write her life’s story. The week she passed away, there it lay on my desk, a neatly hand-written life story! It is one of my most treasured gifts. 

While cool places to work might have car wash facilities or spa treatments and maybe even an on-site gym (does my running around all day count?), I have a different perk. 

I get to make daily trips to our own local place of enlightenment where I am educated by the wisdom of profoundly experienced people — the Confluence Health volunteers. 


I wouldn’t trade my job in a billion years. Wisdom and purpose don’t come in free lattes for everyone. They come from years of seeking and humbly being a student of others’ life lessons. 

So, I told my friend, “My best days are sitting at the feet of knowledge and inspiration. Days don’t get much better than that!” 

Ceci Wood is the Volunteer Coordinator for Confluence Health. A native to the Wenatchee Valley, Ceci delights in coordinating special events or tending to her novel garden. Throw in a busy high school senior, a couple of unruly dogs, three brilliant grandchildren and every day is the best. 

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