When you lose yourself in the service of others, you find yourself.
As a 23 year-old social worker, service is an integral part of my professional and personal life. A fond boyhood memory was driving to the local St. Vincent De Paul donation center in Baton Rouge with my father to give our used and unused non-necessities to “those who were less fortunate.” I am grateful to have been taught this value of serving others in the name of realities meeting to create change for the better.
In college this fond memory grew into a more complex and deeper meaning of service. I soon formed a definition that included my faith and professional ethics, realizing that service defined who I was. Whether serving with a community of volunteers, or mentoring one on one, service allows us to get back to the crux of humanity: a mutual relationship of aid, where both parties learn and grow.
We don’t hear very often about the everyday people who serve their fellow mankind, not once expecting or desiring a hint of recognition. Whether on a volunteer or professional basis, I imagine that like me, they are nourished and refueled by the act of service and connecting with people. There is no substitute for the feeling of making eye contact with an elderly person while they tell you all about their day or working to rebuild a house for recovering addicts. These acts remove our grasp on cell phones portable DVD players, leaving us touching and forming relationships with people who we have more in common with than we will ever realize. Service is not about instantaneous results, but can be as simple as small acts of kindness in which we can all engage: saying please and thank you, or offering a warm smile. There is no single definition of service, for it is your own method of connecting. Some are only able to serve monetarily and some are homeless people helping a friend in the shelter make their bed. Whatever your style may be, the point is made: we are both present together, serving each other in this journey of life; this I believe.
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