In my last post I discussed the virtue of humility. It was a simple post, a suggestion to mankind in general and a reminder to myself in particular to think of self less and others, or the big picture in general, a little more. In the interest of brevity I touched on, but was unable to dedicate enough time to the greatest benefit of the humble lifestyle. Service to others.

When you are ill, even if you are fortunate enough to have a strong circle of support in the form of family and friends, you often become the focus of extra, sometimes unwanted attention. As well-intentioned as the constant inquiries into your health status can be, it can have a negative effect. I have the occasional day that I feel “normal” (an entirely different subject for another day) and am going about my day and the first person I encounter hits me with a “how are you feeling?” and boom, there it is, the reminder that they know me as the sick guy. It feels weird, perhaps ungrateful even, to put this to words because it is a beautiful thing that people are concerned about me enough to ask.

But it still bothers me.

So I deflect. I play it down. Knowing that at least half of the people who ask really don’t want to know, but feel negligent by not asking, I keep it short. Often, I just say “today is a good day.”
I can’t go wrong with that because I do have more good days than bad, and I truly believe that any day looking down at the dirt, not up, is a good day.

The other thing I do is spend as much available resources on others. I work my Masonic charities. It is the greatest kind of giving, it is anonymous. Scrambling behind the scenes to find a prom dress for a HS senior who can’t afford one, glasses for a child whose family has no insurance, a scholarship for a local youth to buy books is truly food for the soul and I am grateful to be in a position to help.

I volunteer at the local food pantry. One day there and it is immediately evident that my life could definitely be worse. All of our lives could.

On a smaller but significant note, I make a point to call and visit people. People I know very well and people that I know enough to call and say hi. The funny thing is that everyone that I call or visit gives me some inclination that they needed it, confirming my favorite quote…

I have spoken to so many people that needed to unburden themselves and I found myself in a position to do something, even if all they needed was for someone to listen to them. One commonality I have found is that the conversation is either prefaced by or includes the some variation of the phrase “of course, this is nothing compared to what you’re going through…”

I shrug that off. That is the essence of what they don’t get. My problems are my problems, their problems are theirs. It is not a matter of whose is bigger or worse, they are pressing on us and affect our ability to function and be happy. It’s not a contest. But interaction with each other, no matter how small, makes it better and also unburdens us. I truly believe this.

Obviously, at least it should be, we should be cognizant of the needs of our fellow man and help whenever possible. It is our duty as human beings. But a wonderful secondary effect of focusing on others is that it takes your mind off of your own issues, whatever they are.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I do know that should scientists discover the center of the universe, I won’t be shocked to find that it’s not me. My happiness is in making my life not only about me, but of being a part of a bigger picture. Being surrounded by happy is my source of happiness. My sense of purpose. I couldn’t achieve that if I was to sit around thinking about how sick I am.

The universe, like most people, doesn’t give a shit.

14 thoughts on “Service”

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you are a far better man than I. I always complain about being “too busy,” even for the things in life I love, so I never really get to “give back.” The only gift I have to give others is a smile and a kind word, so I try to give that when I can. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tom, you said exactly what I was about to reply except today I would be saying he is a better person than I. I haven’t checked my gender fluid in a few days (*a joke between Billy and I because my husband and father think that due to my extremely strong opinions and excessive use of profanity, at times I seem “mannish”). You are absolutely right though, if the world was filled with Billys, what a wonderful place it would be, but God broke the mold when he made him because he knew he had attained perfection. Billy you are a true gem in a society full of rocks♥️

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh bullshit!! That’s another one of your virtues, you are so very humble. Put on a pair of sandals and a tunic and I wouldn’t be able to tell you from Jesus.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Given the basics (food and a safe place to sleep etc.) Then time is the most precious commodity we have. Most of us are too busy paddling away keeping our heads above water to realise we can float.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hey Friend! I was with you right up until the very last sentence…then I had to go back and reread the one before it to see if I missed something.
    Anyway, it struck me as interesting since my post (just now) had the opposite view (of the universe).
    I love this post; it resonates with me on several levels, and I am happy for you that you find things to be happy about, esp. your service to others.

    Liked by 2 people

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