Service leads to wholeness

“Fixing and helping are draining, and over time we may bum out, but service is renewing.”

I’m going to rural Mexico this summer, and having already been there before, I can imagine what a different manner of living they are used to.  I am used to having luxuries that they can only dream of, and they are used to simplicities that I’m sure will teach me to relax a little.  The fact that they don’t have all the appliances that I have, or running water, may lead me to want to help them.  I started preparing for this experience telling myself that I was not going to Mexico to “help” these people.  To me, it did make it sound like I would be trying to fix something that was broken, and I’m sure the wonderful people of Guanajuato do not want to be treated that way.

When I thought about reciprocity a little more, I wondered how I could show these people my appreciation for everything they would be doing for me without making them feel inferior to me and without appearing condescending.  I was worried that they would see my every little act of genuine service as an effort to “help” and “improve” something that wasn’t good enough.  I am glad that this class asked us to read the article about the difference between helping and serving because I understand that it is about how you serve.  The way you look at what you are doing makes a big difference.  The people are human beings with a soul.  And one soul acting for the betterment of another soul is service.  And service benefits two parties, not just one.  I don’t want to go out there to these little villages to fix anything, but I don’t want to come back the same person.  I want those experiences of service and to gain a true care and appreciation for the wonderful people who will let me come into their homes and disrupt the daily routine just a little.  I don’t want these people to remember me as someone who didn’t care, or just not remember me at all.  And I don’t want to forget the great people I will meet either.  Service to others will be a way of keeping them in my memory.

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