The Secret of Life: The Sixth Secret
WELCOME BACK MY FRIENDS
I haven’t spoken with you in a week or so. You have been missed. I love it when old friends get together and discuss matters of importance. No small-talk here. If you want small-talk head down to the local McDonalds and “have a nice day.”
Here we talk about weighty issues and they are all related to the secret of life, and by extension the secret to happiness.
So far we have talked about love and having a purpose. We kicked back and chatted about hope, humility and acceptance. Today, then, it is time to discuss the sixth secret of life. Are you ready? If so then get comfortable and allow me to kick off this discussion about service.
Imagine if we all helped one another
REACH OUT YOUR HAND
Gandhi….now there was a man who understood service, but what does he mean about finding yourself by losing yourself in service?
I believe, and please remember that this is only my opinion, that our highest calling in life is to love. Second only to love is our calling to serve others, and if I’m not mistaken, the act of service is, in fact, an act of love. Thus, by doing service for others we are, in fact, loving others as we would love ourselves.
The word love is easy to say. It has even been bastardized into the modern-day “love ya,” a quick and painless way of telling someone that you care about them. However, there are miles to travel before the word “love” is actually shown through action.
What is service but a giving of one’s time, efforts, even possessions to another in an unselfish act of brotherhood? There are no expectations regarding service. We do not serve another person because we think we will be rewarded, nor do we help others for praise or glory. True humanitarianism is achieved only when we do service for no other reason than to simply help another person. At that moment we toss aside all the b.s. of life and we find a core of goodness inside of us that can serve as a foundation for self-happiness.
One of the remarkable side-effects of doing service is that we forget about our own problems when we help others. I don’t care what is bothering you at any particular moment. I guarantee that you will forget about that bothersome worry the moment you reach out a hand of assistance to another. It is magical and it happens every single time.
No matter how bad your life is, you can always find someone who is worse off than you, and by reaching out to those people you gain a wonderful perspective about life. I have only to drive through downtown and catch a glimpse of the homeless to realize just how good my life is. I have only to volunteer at a Food Bank to realize that my life is blessed, and if I am blessed then I need to share those blessings with others who might be in short supply of such blessings.
SO IF THAT IS TRUE…..
Then why are there so many people who do not serve their fellow man and woman? Why is service something people do during the holidays when asked to make donations of canned food, but not during the rest of the year? Why are there ridiculously rich people who have no concept of service, while those who barely have the money to pay their rent always find a little something extra to give to others in need?
I believe service is a trait that is taught at an early age. I know it was true for me. I grew up in a family where social conscience was instilled in each of us. “He ain’t heavy he’s my brother” were words I grew up with. My parents believed in helping others and they taught me that at such a young age that today I don’t even remember when those lessons were passed along to me. It seems like those words were always a part of my childhood.
Every Sunday we headed down to church and volunteered to help out at the Clothing Bank, sorting clothes and helping people find items that they needed. When you grow up with that kind of civic action then it stays with you for a lifetime, and I guarantee you that I developed a very clear sense of gratitude because of the lessons about service that were passed down to me by my parents.
Every year when I was teaching I would instruct my students to create a service project during the year. Many of them wanted to collect cans of food but I wouldn’t let them do that. It’s too easy for a twelve year old to raid the family kitchen and bring cans to school and think that they had accomplished an act of service. Service should be an act of sacrifice, an unselfish giving of time and effort to help someone else. Eventually my students came up with some wonderful ideas, and they came away from those acts of service feeling good about themselves AND with a new sense of humility.
Our group needs you
Sit with me awhile
HE AIN’T HEAVY HE’S MY BROTHER
I readily admit that there are some people who turn my stomach and make me nauseous. There are some people who simply annoy the hell out of me because of their personality or actions. I suspect that is true for all of us. However, that does not give me a free pass when it comes time to help others. I have heard people say they won’t help the homeless because those are worthless bums and they will just use the money given to them on drugs and booze. Granted, that may be true for some, but who am I to judge? How do I know if the person I pass on the street is needy or not?
Whenever anyone, anywhere, reaches out a hand for help, I want the hand of H.O.W. to always be there and for that, I am responsible.
That is the mission statement for Humanity One World, and it is the mission statement for me as well. It is my responsibility to help those in need, and I would hope it is yours as well.
How can I look in the mirror and feel good about myself knowing that I have not done my part to make this world a better place? How do I live with that?
I can’t answer that question for all of you, but I can sure answer it for myself. The answer is that I cannot live with that. Through acts of service I am able to give back to society. As an added bonus, through those acts I am able to feed my soul so that I can look in the mirror each night and smile, and as I go to sleep each night I can whisper to my parents that they taught me well.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)