Service – Day 1
June 18, 2018
“Can you serve yourself?” I asked a friend who stopped by for dinner.
“No problem,” he joked. “Being self-serving is something I do well.”
Serving others was first handed to me as a lifeline in early sobriety. I was in treatment for drug addiction, and people told me that if I want to help myself, I need to get involved in activities that serve others. I needed—at least for a few minutes each day—to forget about myself and think about someone else. It seemed odd to me that when there was so much to worry about in my own life, I needed to extend myself to others.
“If I don’t think about me, who will?” I wondered.
A pattern began to emerge. If I engaged in activities that served others, life began to respond lovingly to what I needed too. The right thought, word, or action appeared. The right people, mentors, and helpers also appeared along the way. The right job showed up, sometimes a much better job than I would have thought I deserved.
Later, I got tangled up in this lifeline. I needed to back off from service for a while and get clear about what felt right to give. I tried to serve in impossible ways. I tried to make people stop doing things they didn’t want to stop doing. I lost my clarity on what I was doing and why.
When my son died, I didn’t have anything to give. I thought, “Why help others, why serve them, if I can never have what I want in life and if this pain is my reward?” That experience was necessary to my grief—the cocooning, the backing off, the healing of my own wounds. But there came a time when I wanted a life again. And the only way to get a life was to give and to serve.
With all its pitfalls and lessons, service isn’t just a value that can help in our lives. It’s a value that can open up miraculous possibilities.
Value: Serving others, in a way that respects them and us, is the value for this week.
From the book: 52 Weeks of Conscious Contact
About the author
In addiction and recovery circles, Melody Beattie is a household name. She is the best-selling author of numerous books.
One of Melody's more recent titles is The Grief Club, which was published in 2006. This inspirational book gives the reader an inside look at the miraculous phenomenon that occurs after loss--the being welcomed into a new "club" of sorts, a circle of people who have lived through similar grief and pain, whether it be the loss of a child, a spouse, a career, or even one's youth.