Friday, September 27, 2013

The Gift Of Service

When I was growing up, my dad volunteered to help with various activities and events in our town.  The church picnic.  Fixing this or that.  Collecting clothes or canned goods.  Giving a ride to the nuns to go grocery shopping.

Many times . . . actually most of the time . . . my brothers and I would be dragged along to help.  I say dragged, because that’s what it felt like.  I mean, we have to give up a Saturday?  Really?

One big project my dad had worked on was starting Big Brothers, Big Sisters.  I didn’t understand the purpose at the time.  I didn’t understand the benefits at the time.  I didn’t even understand the reason behind it.  After all, I had three brothers and six sisters.  Heck, I’d give one up if someone needed one.  Okay, not really.  But I couldn’t fathom anyone needing a Big Brother or a Big Sister.  As I said, I just didn’t understand the concept.  Too young, I guess.

I went to a co-ed boarding school during my high school years.  Part of the “deal” with going there was that we had to “give back” to the school community.  It might mean doing dishes once a week.  Helping Brother Fabian (no, not that Fabian!) clean classrooms or raking leaves.  The idea was to give back.

Being a typical high school kid, I kinda, sorta got the idea.  It was a big school.  Everyone pitches in, helps out.  Okay, I got that.  Sorta, kinda. 

I’ve written about one of my heroes, Mother Theresa, before.  I even used one of my favorite stories from her in one of my previous posts.  The story goes like this.  A man questioned her as to why she worked so tirelessly with the poor.  He commented something to the effect that “what you’re doing is just a Drop In The Ocean.”  She smiled and said, “And without that one drop, the ocean would be less.”

“. . . the ocean would be less.”

I think we become less by not giving.  By not giving back.  I think by just taking, we become small and insignificant.  We dry up.  Become bitter.  Greedy.  Uncaring.  Unfeeling.  Selfish.

Got me thinking . . .

When we speak of The Gift Of Service, who is it that receives The Gift?

Certainly, by helping with Special Olympics, those kids benefit.  Mowing an elderly person’s lawn.  Shoveling their sidewalk or driveway after a snow storm.  By collecting and delivering clothes and food for the less fortunate, they benefit greatly.  A child and family get to eat.  The effects are immediate.  Smiles.  Hugs.  Many a ‘thank you’ given out.   

But what about the giver?

I believe there is a change in attitude, in thinking, in personality, in soul.  I believe the heart changes.  I believe vision and hearing changes.  One becomes less “self-interested” and more “other-interested”.  

And if one individual is changed, our world is then changed.  Our world becomes better.  To paraphrase Mother Theresa, that one drop helps build the ocean.  That is the real Gift Of Service.  You and I . . . we . . . become better.  Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe