Cathy Turner

Cathy Turner

The other day I asked a group of women, “Are your households serving households? Are your children learning to serve others through your example and interactions?” I also added, “Are you just about yourself?”

Maybe a precursor to these questions would be, “Why do we need to serve each other?” So many answers. To show what love looks like. There are so many people who are languishing in loneliness who would thrive if they only had one somebody to care about them. Maybe we need to serve each other because there are so many needs to meet. Elderly folks need their grass cut. Little ones need tutoring, to be read to, or hugged or listened to. Mamas need a break. Friends need to move. Homeless need to be sheltered. Many need support. And we all need to get outside ourselves.

Serving is a learned behavior and it is learned more easily if it is modeled by one’s parents. That thought reminds me of a long-time friend of mine. One of the first times I remember her was when she came into the kitchen in the house into which we were moving. I had met her at the congregation where we had been visiting. [Disclaimer #1: I must say here, that lots of our opportunities to serve have been through church.] We had let the congregation know that we would be moving in and that there would be lots of work to do. [Disclaimer #2: It’s okay to give people an opportunity to serve.] Well, this sweet lady and her middle school aged daughter showed up with tool belt aprons on, loaded with cleansers, cloths, scissors, scrub brushes, etc. And they went to cleaning my kitchen, the cabinets, and cutting the shelving paper to line the cabinets. They came back the next day too! And years later when I was teaching her daughter gymnastics in a hot box of a gym, this same sweet lady brought me a glass of iced tea to have during class. My sweet friend! And just the other night, she served chili and trimmings to about 25 of us ladies as we relaxed, talked, shared, and got to love each other a little more. What a servant heart! What an example to her daughter! What an encouragement to us! 

You don’t have to go to other countries to serve. [You can.] And you don’t have to spend a lot of money. [You can.] You just have to get outside of yourself and find a need to fulfill. My husband and I have traveled to out-of-town hospitals, have clean toilets, and have been with the grieving. We’ve taught classes together. We’ve just tried in small ways to make this world a better place to be. Back your spouse up in the good that he wants to do or if you need to, inspire him! Say, “Come on! Let’s do this!” Encourage your spouse and children to think outside of themselves. Make a kid craft for the lady down the street. Take a gallon of ice cream and invite your family into some singleton’s home for dessert. Stop being so wrapped up in your work, your problems, or your ball games that you can’t leave some groceries on someone’s doorstep or invite someone that you can learn from to put their feet under your table.

Service can save us. Serving can shake the melancholy from our hearts and lift the spirits of our receivers. You and yours can serve together. When we serve with our families, we grow closer in love, respect, and in relationship. Shake off this pandemic - do something for somebody else! Serve. Your household will be happier.

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