Reclaiming Your Joy After Loss
What do you think of when you hear the word service? In the small town I lived in growing up, Veterans day was the biggest holiday of the year and was celebrated with different events all week long. This was all done to honor and respect people in “the service,” those who served our country in the military. At that time, whenever I heard the word service, I thought of those people and what they did for all of us, offering their lives for people they didn’t even know. This kind of selfless service was my example of what service meant. My Dad served in World War 2 and went on to serve veterans the rest of his life. I knew that was the kind of person I wanted to be, one who serves others.
Throughout my life I have chosen careers and activities that were all service based, not military service, rather service to others who I didn’t necessarily know. Theatre became a place of service for me. In all the different roles I played in production of shows, including acting, directing, designing, and producing, I was working to entertain the audience, to allow an escape for them, make them laugh or cry. Working as a nurse, I served to save lives, provide comfort, support healing, provide end of life care, and help babies come into families. Teaching writing at the university, I provided skills for students to enhance their careers and their lives. My ambulance company provides service to our whole community in the most difficult of circumstances whether they can pay or not. And in all the community service I have done, I sought opportunities to make the community and the world a better place.
When grieving, I have found comfort in serving others who are also grieving. Having discovered the value of writing to help me deal with the experience I was having; I saw that I could help others to discover how writing through their grief can help immeasurably. I have taught these writing classes in my home, but when the pandemic came, I started teaching online, and I discovered other ways to use my writing online to provide inspiration and comfort. The more I serve, the better I feel.
What are you doing to serve? It doesn’t have to be something big. Doing things like sharing vegetables from your garden with your neighbors, calling friends or writing letters to people who would love to hear from you, or even taking good care of your cat or dog are all service. Of course, you can also do bigger things. In this case, size really doesn’t matter. Each act of service counts.
What can you do today to serve? I would love to hear what you do.
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