Saturday, November 10, 2012

let service saturday begin

i think i have gratitude down pretty well.   i'm very grateful for everything and will continue to be, but how can i improve myself?   something has been tickling the back of my brain lately.   service!

let me go back several years.   i grew up not knowing my father.   i met him when i was 18.   it was at that time that i first met my 6 half brothers and sisters.   i was visiting their house for a few weeks and was used to doing things for myself.   my dad would often stop me and ask one of the kids to do it.  i noticed that he would often ask them to do little things for him as well.   just things like getting a glass of water or something of that nature.   he told me that you love the ones you serve so he gave the kids an opportunity to more deeply love. . . hmmm. . .yeah, right.   classic of my dad, this is a joke.   he was kind of teasing the kids and telling them this as a way to get them to do things for him.   it's his version of "got your nose".   i haven't used it on my kids yet, maybe i should.   back to the point, this memory has always amused me but it has hung around in the back of my skull.  one of those things that seems important but you don't know why.

another story of service that amuses me and has also been bouncing around in the background, is about a missionary.   you're probably familiar with the mormon missionaries.   2 guys in suits or 2 young ladies in dresses with little black name tags?   they are almost always in 2's sometimes in 3's but never alone.   i ask that your nice to them even if you don't want to talk religion.   they would love to help you paint, rake, clean, move, etc. even if you don't want to hear about the church.   really, ask them to help, give them a drink of water in the summer or some hot cocoa in the winter (just cuz it's nice) and ask them to do something for you.   they love service!   and they are young 18-21 year olds, they can get things done.   back to the missionary story.   like i said, they travel in pairs.   they live together and work together.   they have to stay together all the time.   they rotate partners every so often but they still have a partner at all times.   sometimes they get a partner they don't see eye to eye with.   i mean they are just people and people are all very different.   they are coming from all over the world, different backgrounds and cultures, they are bound to get at least one partner that they have a hard time getting along with.     one missionary, and i'm sure this has happened to more than one, but this missionary was having a hard time with his current partner.   he felt that he was trying very hard to be kind and friendly to his partner but still found his partner to be annoying.   the mission president (guy in charge of all the missionaries in an mission.   a mission is a specific area, like the boise mission is most of the southwestern part of idaho and some of oregon) told him that he should serve his partner.   he should find little things to do for his partner secretly.   just random acts of kindness.   that same, " you love the ones you serve thing".    the  missionary went back to the apartment with his partner and tried to think of some things to do for him.   immediately though, he noticed that his partner was doing little acts of service for him.  he realized that his partner had been just as annoyed with him as he had with his partner.   as they served each other, they became friends.   like my dad said, you love the ones you serve.

in my religion, we talk a lot about service.   service is a major deal.   service is built into the very structure of our church.   if you have read other posts, you'll remember me talking about visiting teaching.   the women are assigned certain other women to visit each month and give them an uplifting thought but also see that they are doing well.   there is a similar version for the men called home teaching.   we all check on each other.   if we do need something and are not sure who to ask, we should start with those visiting teachers or home teachers, they are then to either help in anyway they can or contact the leadership and get the help.   for instance, my grandmother is without a car, her visiting teacher is able to drive her to appointments.   if she can't do it, she finds someone that will be able to do it.   in this way everyone has 2 women and 2 men to contact for help, first line of defense you might say.   the other half of this is that the women i am to visit, and care for, are my responsibility.   not to say that no one else can do anything, but i try to stop and see them at church and say hello, etc.   the thing about this is that these are often women i would not usually talk to.   people that just don't run in the same circles, not unfriendly, but we wouldn't normally stop to chat with each other.   it really broadens my horizons     i love all of the women i have ever gone to visit.   some started as complete strangers and ended up dear friends.   i am grateful for the opportunity right now to visit an elderly lady who always has lots of stories from the war to tell.   i never really talked to her because of the language barrier.   i'm still struggling to understand her stories and she is very patient with my horrific german.   now, when we see each other in church we always greet each other warmly.   last week i came into class late and just took the first open seat.   i didn't really look to see who i was sitting by.   this sister clasped my hand and gave me her usual sparkling smile when i sat next to her.   she leaned over a few times and spoke to me.   i understood little of what she was saying but i love sitting by her anyway.

this brings me to service saturday.   i'm not actually holding myself to post every week.   i can't get thankful thursday in on thursday most of the time so i'm not going to add another deadline.   but, i am going to bring those service tinglings to the front of the skull  instead of bumping around in the back as they have been.   i'm looking for ways to serve.   i will be reporting on things i have done, want to do, am doing or others are doing.   i just want to start.   once you start something  you never know exactly where it will lead but you don't actually go anywhere until you start the journey.