In Robert Bly’s book, Iron John, he writes of the transformation a young boy makes as he descends from the heights of a great kingdom. The boy encounters a wild man in the forest that gives him various challenges to test his mettle. In one of the chapters, the boy works within the dirty ovens of the kitchen, a far cry from the plush life in the palace he would one day be accustomed to.
One will never be fit to rule if they aren’t first willing to serve – with gladness.
A few days ago, I was chatting with Sister J. Offering to throw away the trash from breakfast, she turned to me and said “No. It is I that am to serve you.”
Since that moment, I’ve been challenged to have a heart of a servant, beyond the action of service.
The bible says to “Serve the LORD with gladness” in all that we do. I think this idea opposes the message many of us hear about the world being our oyster.
This year, I spent a lot of my time pursuing internal peace. When you are self-employed and spend a lot of time alone, inner peace isn’t a want – it’s a necessity.
Most of the exercises I pursued were capable of providing a sense of peace. Yet, when the boat would rock, all of the peace would disappear and require me to be still in order to regain it. It’s very similar to collecting pond water in a glass; after a few hours, the sediment will settle at the bottom of the glass.
What I was missing was a true source of peace; clean water, beyond a separation of sediment. FYI – the bacteria that give you diarrhea are still in the settled pond water…
It’s through servitude of others that I have found the source of renewal that provides true peace. When you serve others, they are presented with the choice to accept or deny. True service isn’t transactional; requiring compensation in return for the actions.
When we open our hearts to serving others, we ease the burden of acceptance on those we serve, creating a ripple effect that lasts beyond our actions. When others accept the gift of service, they begin to understand they can accept themselves as worthy of being served.
For many years, I struggled to feel worthiness of many things. I didn’t understand how to accept love, because I didn’t have it for myself. The source of self-love doesn’t come from staring in the mirror with self-accolades, although there was a period of my life where I needed to rebuild my self-confidence through daily affirmations.
Last year, Steve and Azar welcomed me into their homes. It was such a dramatic change of living situation that I didn’t know how to accept the love, aside from accepting its embrace. As the year unfolded, and I moved from Steve’s loft to Azar’s lakeside home (palace), and began to realize how much I could offer others through service, after seeing the loving example they both showed me. I cried the first time I showered in Azar’s home. It was overwhelming.
You are more than enough.
It was on Azar’s patio that I realized the true nature of these words, given from Steve. Staring at the Sun, I realized this, too, was for me to enjoy and receive nourishment from. No amount of money could purchase a single ray of the sunlight.
Like photosynthesis from the sun, it is our servitude of others that helps them blossom. There is no limit to the love and care we can give others with our words, deeds, hands, and emotion.
Perhaps you, like me, feel like don’t have anything to offer others because you doubt you are enough, or because somebody told you that you are ‘too much’. I shrunk behind those words, in fear.
Challenge those words and give something away. It doesn’t have to be an object. Compliments are free. Wait. It may not happen immediately, but the more you give to others, you will begin to see how your servitude is transformed and returned back to you in ways you never dreamt possible.
You will discover new things about yourself, as well. Perhaps your voice is one that can lift spirits and hearts. Or, you may find your smile radiates with love that only others can see.
Be the sunshine in somebody’s rainy day. Both of you will bathe in the rainbow.