I WISH I could remember where I heard or read this, but I’m statistically halfway dead and my brain is even deader from raising so many children. I’m pretty sure I heard it from Jay Shetty, but I think he was actually quoting someone else, as well.
I’m not even sure if, under these circumstances, I should put the quote in quotations because it’s obviously not exactly the way it was written. So, I’m just not.
“Whether you’re in a good or bad place, the answer to ‘making things better’ is the same: serve others.”
When I first heard this, I thought, “Yes. Serve others: donate clothing, donate furniture, donate money…work in a soup kitchen, tutor underprivileged kids, adopt a pet, fly to Nicaragua and help build a school.” Those are all incredible things that arguably change the lives of those receiving your service forever.
But, I think it would be a disservice to assume that “service” is always something so structured, something you need to Google and sign up for.
The more I think about it, the more I see opportunities all around me to serve my next door neighbors trying to work full time jobs from home, homeschool their 3 young children, and figure out a way to keep their health enough to do it all every day. The more I am drawn to serving the woman down the street who could use my help programming workouts and learning about nutrition so she can start the long road to losing 50 pounds and, hopefully, finally being able to get pregnant. And, the more I am able to dial in on the distant relative I’ve gradually lost touch with who has lost lost her only child to an accident, her husband to cancer, and is now alone going through her own medical challenges.
When this all became so clear to me, it was easy because I wasn’t holding the term “service” up to such a strict definition. We can all serve others in different, or even the exact same, ways every day. There aren’t always guidelines, requirements, or sign up sheets. It’s really more a way of living your life, than an event we schedule into our day.
And, yes, by all means does that quote say it all. Whether you’re having the best day of your week, or the worst day of your life, serving others will make everything better. We are hard-wired to feel the blanket of joy cover us when we are able to connect with people, dig up some compassion and love that we’ve subconsciously tucked away in the depths of our hearts, and share that energy with them.