In Quaker singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer’s offering “Betty’s Diner” from her album, regulars and refugees the chorus describes:

“Here we are all in one place, the wants and wounds of the human race. Despair and hope sit face to face when you come in from the cold. Let her fill your cup with something kind, eggs and toast like bread and wine. She’s heard it all and she don’t mind.”

It sounds as though Betty and her diner minister to people with warmth, conversation and compassion. She sees her work as something directly from her heart — almost a personal form of worship. Probably very much like Carrie does with her singing and songwriting. Just think how fulfilled they are at the end of the day, when their work has been from the heart all day long, giving people hope and comfort.

But it is difficult to get even a glimmer of that “holiness” when we are harassed, unappreciated, overwhelmed, frazzled and burned out in our daily experience. “Perhaps the secret to coming to this awareness [of working from the heart], no matter what our present circumstances, is to discover the work we love to do. But until we do, we need to learn to love the work we are presently doing,” suggests Sara Breathnatch in “Simple Abundance.”

I’ve worked in a number of jobs in my life but only two have felt like a calling, when my work was really and fully from the heart. The first was nearly 20 years as the director of stewardship and donor development for the Church of the Brethren General Board.

The second is right now as the executive director of Garden Terrace low-income senior apartments — both non-profits and both involving other people, some with tremendous needs.

I spend a lot of each day interacting with our seniors — all over the age of 62 — and the ones that use their Senior Moments to volunteer with organizations they really care about seem to be pretty darn happy and have a little more spark than some of the others. I can only assume that when you “volunteer” from the heart the benefits may be even better than working from the heart. I’d like to know.

Are you working or volunteering from the heart? I’d love to hear what you are doing that is directly from your heart and who is benefitting from your time and talents. You can share with me at: or Garden Terrace, 500 N. Emerson Ave. — ofc, Wenatchee, 98801.

Kenneth E. Neher is executive director of the Garden Terrace senior living community, for whom he writes “Senior Moments.” These columns periodically appear in The Wenatchee World.