good life by wendy howe
Part of cultivating a good life is being able to recognize how service equals happiness – whether giving service or being the recipient.
We all experience hardship in our lives. Whether it be a physical, financial, or emotional loss, we know how it feels. I was blessed to grow up in a home where we were taught that it was our duty to help our fellow man. If there was a need, my father and mother would always do what they could to fulfill it. My siblings and I still agree that our favorite memories of childhood weren’t how big our homes were or how nice our cars were. It was how our family came together when we got to be a part of anonymously serving another person or family in need. My mom called us the “Monday Night Marauders.”
Recently my family and I have been the recipients of humble service because of the loss of a job and a health challenge. We have felt those around us being more aware of our needs, checking in on us, and offering to help if they can. In a time when we are feeling our most exposed and vulnerable, we have felt love through simple and sometimes large acts of service. I have learned that allowing someone else to serve us (as humbling and uncomfortable as it may be) is an essential part of being able to perform service in its purest form.
My children naturally want to pay it forward and we look for ways everyday to serve someone else. On my hardest days if I can figure out how do something to help another, as little as it may be, my hard day becomes one of my best.
A beautiful side effect has been being able to watch our children learn that service doesn’t always have to cost money. It can be doing a neighbor’s yard work, helping someone bring in their groceries, delivering a plate of cookies, or just kind words and a compliment to a stranger at the grocery store.