I have a weakness for buying women’s magazines. Most of the covers tend to say the same thing, “Lose weight and eat cake “or “How to save money at the grocery store.” My family likes to rib me about buying them. “I know how you can save money at the grocery store Mom: stop buying these magazines!!!” Oh, how they laughed!!! There are worse things that I could be spending my money on, but of course, there could be better things too.
When I was reading one of these magazines, there was a celebrity quote from Olivia Newton John. It said “I’m happy entertaining people but I am at my happiest when I help people.” This kind of took me aback. I envisioned celebrities’ lives would be about people constantly doing things for them. Their lives would be spa days and dinners out in between Opening Nights and the occasional work gig. Here she was talking about something kind of glamorous; Olivia Newton-John was talking about helping others.
Why should I be so surprised by her comment and why was I thinking so much of Olivia Newton-John? Clearly, her comment gave me pause for thought. But, it also did something else. Somehow it helped me realize that I am at my happiest when I help others. Also, that it is OK to think that, and admit it, out loud. Somehow in a world where it seems like it is best to be waited on and have others serve you, I prefer to be on the other side, where I get the chance to help somebody else.
When Jesus came to earth, He came as a baby and lived life as a normal man, albeit perfect. He wasn’t waited on hand and foot. Instead, He washed the feet of others.
“So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:12-17)
Now I am not talking about the signing up to help everyone, taking on too much and getting burnt out kind of helping (although sometimes as women we can’t escape all the duties we have). I am talking about taking a look at your schedule, deciding the “Good, Better and Best” use of time and then figuring ways you can help others. Perhaps visiting an elderly person, collecting the mail for an out of town neighbor. You get the idea!
Some of my happiest memories are visiting a disabled woman once a week who was housebound and almost chair bound. We had such great conversations and she was so appreciative that I could find an hour and a half out of my week to see her. But I really enjoyed it too!!! Now that she has passed, I am grateful for that chance of getting to know her and for the memories of that unlikely, but treasured, friendship. That wasn’t a formal volunteer job: just an informal once a week visit that gave us both joy. Some of us might be able to volunteer outside of work and home duties and that is great. Others perhaps, are not in that season right now. Regardless, if your job today includes filing papers, folding laundry, assisting grumpy patients or making meals for often unappreciative people, take pride in your work and allow yourself to enjoy it. You may find that helping others is opening the door to untold joy.
Have a wonderful week!
Thank you to our Guest Writer Faithful Gardener for sharing her insight and reflection this week on Acts of Service. You have given us food for thought!