The Season for Selfless Service

DFGThis time of year, I like to read a book to go along with the holiday season.

The one I chose this year is the volume complied by Cache Valley’s own positive media entrepreneur Paul Parkinson titled Unselfish: Love Thy Neighbor As Thy Selfie.

I’ve had it since it was released this spring, but I had some other books to finish up so I just barely got to it. I’m glad I saved it though because it’s timely for the holidays.

I finished reading it during Thanksgiving and all I can say is “Wow!” that is great book. And, “Wow!” there are some amazingly selfless people in this world. And, “Wow!” I’m a loser.

I didn’t give up a lucrative job and sell all my possessions in order to move to a third world country to help underprivileged children. I don’t make hundreds of sandwiches every day then drive around the city streets every night to hand them out to the homeless. As a kid, I was too busy playing with friends and writing letters to Santa about all the stuff I wanted instead of starting a nonprofit organization to help other kids in the hospital.

What the freak have I been doing with my life?

Yeah, this book got me thinking. I could do more.

So I’ve been trying to look for ways to serve—you know, besides doing laundry, washing dishes, cooking hot meals, giving rides and cleaning toilets for the helpless children I’ve allowed to live in my house until adulthood.

One day, I was out on my bike and I passed the house of sweet lady who’s become an honorary grandma to our family. It had been a long time since I’d visited her so I decided to stop by. She was happy to see me because she was struggling with setting up a quilt on frames and I just happen to have mad quilt skills. We got it set up and I even helped sew for a while before I donned my Super Service cape and jumped back on the Bike-mobile to find others in need.

Further down the road, I passed the house of another friend I’d been out of touch with for a while. She’s a young mother of several kids and when she let me in I immediately went to work helping her neaten and nurture. As I pedaled home I was feeling pretty good about my selfless self.

Then later that day, I was working through a pile of neglected business paperwork when a relative called needing help. As he explained the situation, I was annoyed because I was busy and the pickle he’d gotten himself into was due to his own stupidity. I went to the rescue, but grudgingly.

It wasn’t until I was lying in bed that night that the irony hit me. I was willing to serve when I wanted to and for people I deemed deserving, but when it was inconvenient and for the unworthy I balked.

Hence, the reason I’m not a featured hero in Unselfish.

There aren’t exceptions or conditions for true selflessness. The person whose birth we’ll celebrate in a few weeks taught that perfectly. Lucky for me, He still loves and serves the stupid.

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