“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
I just love Gandhi…everything about him…his wisdom, humility, patience and love for the human race. The above quote is one of my favourites. Service has always been a failsafe of mine whenever I am lost. If I but stop to recognize the needs of others, somehow a quiet strength fills my soul and I am blessed with strength beyond my own to meet whatever challenges come my way. By so doing, I find myself again…I feel myself again…I love myself again.
At times however, I am physically unable to provide the service to others that my heart so desperately longs for. Depression cripples me, rendering me incapable of taking care of even my own most basic of needs. In the past, I have been extremely hard on myself regarding this incapacity. I battled feelings of frustration, uselessness and even worthlessness. I wondered of what use I was if I couldn’t even help myself…let alone others? I believed that I was a burden to others…unworthy and undeserving of their help and love. Now, here lies one of the many dangerous thought patterns and cycles of depression…I promise you, absolutely no good can or ever will come from thinking this way. This destructive thought cycle must be broken.
***If you struggle with these same destructive thought patterns, stop. Please, just stop. It will be a struggle to overcome, but with time, patience and love for yourself, it can be done.
From this, I have learned a very valuable lesson in life: sometimes we are the one with the capacity to offer help, but other times we are are the one in need of help. There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing help, and there certainly should be no shame in accepting help. That certainly is far easier said than done however. I believe that shame and guilt are common obstacles along the path to seeking help for most people, but why? How can this be changed?
In order to bring about change we must first replace destructive cycles with a productive cycles, and this change must start on an individual basis. A favourite scripture of mine reads, “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.” (Alma 37:6) If each and every one of us were to make a small and simple effort to not only be mindful of the need to provide service and help, but also the need to accept service and help, imagine what great good could come of that? Imagine the positive change?
As I had said in an earlier blog post, service makes me oh so happy and brings me great joy. I have reached a point in my health again that provides me with the capacity to serve, and I am so excited! With Christmas just around the corner, I wanted to draw attention to a favourite charitable organization of mine: Operation Christmas Child. More information about the organization can be found on their website: www.samaritanspurse.ca
This is wonderful project for the whole family to become involved in. We have tried to make this an annual tradition in our household. Basically, you fill a shoebox with things like toys, school supplies and hygiene items for a specific gender and age group. I can’t help but imagine the joy that these children will experience as they open their gifts in excitement…I love everything about this, and I love involving my children in the process. National collection week this year runs from November 14th – 2oth, and you can find a drop off centre near you by visiting their website. If you are looking for a great opportunity for service, give this one a try!
I would like to leave you today with one last quote: “the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives, and everything to do with the focus of our live.” – Russell M Nelson
Regardless of our life situation, we all have the opportunity to experience joy if we but make it the focus of our lives. Joy comes in giving and receiving service, and loving and being loved. I firmly believe that it is in the small and simple things in life that we will find lasting joy.
Have a wonderful weekend!