Being Of Service

Join together in service.

My girlfriend, Mia recently said, “If we could all be of service to one another, the world would be a better place to live.”  I know for myself, when I’m wrapped up in my own struggles, I find it helpful to be of service to someone else.  It gets my mind off my own problems.  All throughout my adult years I have been involved in some kind of volunteer work:  I’ve taught fitness classes for adults as well as children, led study groups, run a weekend retreat, was on the board at the Chatham-Kent YMCA, done pastoral care, sang in the church choir, and been on various school committees.

Volunteer work is a wonderful way to achieve personal growth, and you get to do things that you wouldn’t get to do otherwise.  For example:  I never would have been able to do pastoral care work without having some kind of degree.  But with 40 hours of training, I was able to sit with people who were going through a crisis, listen, and ask the right questions, so they could figure out what they wanted to do.  I not only was able to be of service to someone else, I learned skills that will serve me well for the rest of my life.

What gifts do you carry on your journey?

I enjoy helping people.  I think that’s what we are on this earth to do. While listening to Justin Teeuwen speak about reaching our full potential, he did an exercise that allowed us to discover the areas in our lives that spark our passions.  When we discover a pattern and possibilities, his next question was, “How can you take that passion and be of service to others?”  It was at this time that I realized that my passion right now is writing about the woman’s journey — the phases of a woman’s life.  Because I’ve written a fiction novel about one woman’s journey, I have the perfect opportunity to illustrate, through Grace’s personal journey, how she dealt with some of the same kind of struggles many women go through.  In this way, I hope to begin a dialogue about the woman’s journey, and the ways in which she works through the different phases of her life.  To follow up, I plan to prepare a presentation that will further explore the woman’s journey in a way that women can relate to.

It seems to me that all the other volunteer work I’ve done over the years has brought me to this point.  I think that, had I done nothing all those years, I would find it difficult to stand in front of people to talk about anything.  To prove how far I’ve come, I relate that on my wedding day, when I found out I had to speak in front of people, I completely froze.  But through the volunteer leadership roles I had through the years, I find I am ready to move to a new level of service.

As a volunteer, I have sometimes felt unappreciated, and not taken seriously because I have no credentials beyond whatever training was available to me.  I have, at times, felt drained by the constant giving of my time and energy and needed a break.  I think it is important, as a volunteer, to care for yourself.  You may need to say no sometimes, or take a break from your volunteer activity altogether.  And that’s OK.  That’s what I needed to do for a while.  But nurturing others comes naturally to me, so it’s no great surprise that I found myself recognizing a unique opportunity to be of service in a way that fits the person I am today, and to share the gifts that have taken years to manifest.
After a much needed hiatus, I find I am eager to begin this new part of my journey towards being of service.  For as my friend pointed out — the world will be a much better place if we all share our gifts by being of service to others.  Perhaps it’s time to consider what gifts you have that you could share with someone else and make the world a better place for everyone.

Categories: Memoir

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