October 13, 2008

Service.

My days are busier than ever. A certain someone in the household--not me!--was put on a concussion watch briefly last week. Our indoor cat got out of the house on a rainy night (she made her way back about 45 minutes later). And a certain someone--again, not me!--broke a bone in her foot in just the right way that it required an ambulance ride to the hospital because she couldn't walk to the car. I've been thinking that if I can get a paragraph onto The Good Raised Up, I'll be pleased. --Liz
There are a number of categories of service.

Service to self. Service to strangers. Service to friends and family. Service to community. Service to God.

Service to God looks a lot like being faithful to how God leads me, paying careful attention to doing things I would not consider doing, just because God asks me.

Service to community sometimes looks like doing something not because God asks me but because the community needs something done and I'm available and willing to do it. (Think "semi-annual work day at the meetinghouse.")

Service to friends and family is a different sort of extending myself to be available to them, like answering all the becks-and-calls because someone's laid up with a broken foot. It just comes with the territory.

Service to strangers is my weakest suit. I need a lot of support--or maybe a lot of faith?--to approach people I don't know or work in a community center that's unfamiliar to me. I've still got room to grow and work to do in this area.

Service to myself is a paradox: The more I serve others, the more I feel like I receive. When I take myself out of the center of my own life and put God or community or family there, and when I make myself genuinely available to them as a support or as a spiritual servant, I am often lifted from my own ennui, despair, or worry, at least for awhile.

Well, I've got to go. Someone's calling me, asking for help.

Blessings,
Liz

4 comments:

cath said...

Liz, since you do not know or have not met in person everyone who might read this blog, you "are" providing service to strangers. :)

However, I take your point about your having a difficult time going out among strangers to provide service.

On the other hand, I wonder if we are all asked to provide service everywhere to everyone. I suspect that each of us has the gifts and talents to provide service where we are most needed and that others will be led to the situations in which they are most needed.

I couldn't tell from the wording of your post whether or not you felt that you had room to grow in service to strangers because you felt led or because you felt you needed to be available and active in all areas of service.

My personal approach (and it won't be everyone's) is to devote most of my service time with that I do really well, try to stretch myself when possible, but not hold onto the idea that I must be of service to all.

Thanks for making this list and reminding us that service is important.

Anyway, please let the "other person" know that I hope recovery from the injuries goes well. :)

cath

Liz Opp said...

Hi, cath -

Thanks for the comment. You write:

"I couldn't tell from the wording of your post whether or not you felt that you had room to grow in service to strangers because you felt led or because you felt you needed to be available and active in all areas of service."

It's more out of a sense that I simply am not living into my full measure of Light. I know this; I sense this... yet I seem to do so little about it.

That is, I don't push myself to participate in service activities that are available to me.

At the same time, I also know it isn't in good order for me to push myself. So I wait.

In some ways, this is similar to a young Friend, I believe from the 1700s, David Ferris. He knew God had a certain service for him and he resisted it for many, many years.

This particular Friend's life and journey as a Friend doesn't get talked about much, but I highly recommend this book. It makes our struggles seem okay and it's an easier and shorter read than Fox or Woolman.

Blessings,
Liz

cath said...

Thanks for the clarification.

I know something about resisting promptings to move forward; sometimes the Spirit carries a sledge hammer for folks like me. :)

Then, at other times, the will to move forward is very strong and the circumstances prevent action.

Keeping oneself open for just the right moment takes practice and mindfulness.

Cath

Liz Opp said...

Cath -

"Keeping oneself open for just the right moment takes practice and mindfulness."

How true.

Blessings,
Liz