The late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr once said, “We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobile rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity.” Showing service to someone is perhaps one of the easiest things a person can do, and yet very few people take part in this. And it was until Jim that I began to believe in the same thing.
My godfather Jim quickly became a great figure of wisdom for me, but he was also my friend. He was the type of person who genuinely offered his opinion even if it was something you would not want to hear. Although, he would agree with me that school can sometimes feel dumb, and useless. He was there to talk to me about life, and his experiences. We had conversations that went from the TV show SpongeBob Squarepants to NASA and the International Space Station to more simple things like how to show people kindness, and become selfless.
I had gone to Mexico to serve a small community. This impoverished community needed many things. Although we were able to serve them physically, what meant more to me was that I could show them love even by just saying hi. These people were so happy even while they had nothing. I wanted to achieve the same set of mind Jim had. Every time I looked at him, I wondered how he could be so embracing toward the world when he could not even enjoy it fully.
I slowly helped him get up, and walked him to the front door making sure his oxygen tank was full, and his cords were not being tangled. He takes a couple of long, deep breaths as he looks outside. Then with a simple nod, I take him back to his chair. He could not do anything without becoming tired. It took all of his strength and air just to walk to the front door and look outside. Even then he could not enjoy the same fresh, deep breath of air that I enjoy when I first step outside after a spring rain.
Every time I changed Jim’s tank or helped him get into his favorite recliner or made him a sandwich, I felt a part of my heart go out to him. Maybe the love I felt was only there because we knew each other, but I believe that charity or any other selfless act goes a long way for a person, and is as meaningful as something like love. Jim had opened this whole new way of expressing love for other people that I had not known before. I was able to take that, and apply it to others. So this I believe: I believe that being kind and helpful to others will not only enrich my life, but those around me as well.
Many years have passed since that summer. Things have changed, and I have grown older. I still try to help those around me whether or not they need it, and that will stay the same. Charity can include many things, and I am only grateful that I learned the value of it from someone who lived it. Martin Luther King and Jim have a lot in common. They believed in the same things, and even in death they still continue to influence my actions toward others.
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