Everything we need to survive in life we learn in it kindergarten. Don't talk to strangers. Always say please when you want something and thank you when you get it. When someone pushes you, don't push back. It's better to give than to receive. Play nice. Always give a helping hand.
And so we set off into our lives with those principles in mind.
We see poor, unfortunate souls on the street and we pride ourselves when we give our spare change into the outstretched hands. We feel mighty pleased with ourselves whenever we donate a large sum to charity. We go into orphanages and think we have done them a big favour when we give an old discarded plaything of ours to them. We think it's such a big thing whenever we spend 2 hours of our precious time investing in the lives of others. We think we've contributed something enormous to the world by being helping them. Feeling magnanimous, we stride into the world safe in the knowledge that we've done our charitable bit for the year.
Yet very seldom, many of us 'good ones' missed the whole point of serving those who need it. We try to hide behind the thin veneer of self-righteousness and say that, "Oh, I'm such a charitable soul, helping those who are in need. Aren't I a saint?" Even I admit that I feel like that sometimes. But then again, serving isn't about me, it's about them. So why are we placing the importance on our own selfish selves instead of them?
We think we're serving them but in actual reality, they're serving us. How, you ask?
While you think YOU are the one spending your time and efforts on them, THEY are the ones who even gave you the opportunity to serve.
They are the ones teaching you patience, not the other way round. They are the ones reminding you of the basic things you've learned since young. They are the ones who show you that life does not revolve around you. You may have showered them with material gains but they have given you what money can never buy - the chance for you to build your character. Funny how then we all just go off being smug when they're the ones who've gave you so much more than what you gave them.
When it boils down to it, all that's left is our pride. Our crippling inability to admit that they're more important than us. But if we can crush that pride and focus on the people instead of just one person, our own selves, that's what serving the community really is.And boy oh boy, can you imagine what would happened if we took the opportunity to learn from them instead of just being high and mighty?
One word - wow.
Dedicated to all my dear friends from the Children At Risk (CAR) project. You've reminded me time and time again that it's never about me, it's about serving God through you.