Invisible Service Made Visible

My husband and I have a lot of animals so I spend a lot of time at our local feed store.  The one I visit is run by a family with four children under the age of sixteen.  The kids are home schooled so they help out at the store  It’s not unusual to have their thirteen-year old daughter ring up your Rabbit Feed; or to have their fifteen-year old son forklift a bale of hay over to your car.

I’ve talked to their parents about this.  “Your kids are getting quite an education here, right?  I mean not only are they learning about math and writing.   You’re helping them develop business and customer service skills.  That’s an amazing gift you’re giving them.”

The parents seem pleased.  The kids shrug and carry on business as usual.

One time their ten-year helped me load up my car.  He carried a 30-pound bag of dog food and waited patiently for me to scratch through my purse and find my keys.  I found the keys, opened the car, and he hoisted the bag into the hatchback of my Prius.

I thanked him; and as he turned away, I stretched to pull down the hatchback.  I was standing on uneven ground and the door was slightly out of my reach.  I felt him turn and look at me, anticipating my possible need.  He hesitated, ready to help.  He was looking for a way to serve.  He’s ten.

In an instant, I became aware of service in simple moments.  This young boy didn’t have to wait.  He didn’t have to stand poised with keen interest in helping me.  He could have rushed off to assist the next customer or to play a video game in the back room of the store.  Instead he gave me his full attention.

I once heard someone say that a mystic embodies these qualities:  when eyes are closed, a mystic contemplates peace.  When eyes are open a mystic asks how may I serve?

Perhaps this ten-year old was a mystic in the making.  Perhaps we all are.

How do we see the mystic in all of us?  How was it possible to glean mysticism from that tiny interaction?

I’m not sure.  I do know we’ve been focusing on cultivating invisible service, at our Spiritual Center, something we learned from ServiceSpace.  Things like: “Instead of grumbling about the trash on the hiking trail, quietly pick it up.  Put shopping carts back in their place.   Do the thing that will get no accolades whatsoever but do it as if you’re going for a Nobel Peace Prize.  Be the change you wish to see but if possible, remain unseen.”

I have found that my willingness to serve invisibly makes the service of others visible.  That’s so weird, and so paradoxical, it’s got to be Divine… 

Shortly after my interaction with the ten-year old boy, I dropped by the feed store again.  I had a small bag of heart pins for the kids, and a card for the parents telling them how much I admire their family.  I didn’t stick around to watch the family discover the hearts and card.  Doing my best to be invisible, I deposited the gift with their daughter, and snuck back to my car, trusting the blessed ripples to multiply.

What small acts of service have made a difference in your life? 


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7 Responses to Invisible Service Made Visible

  1. nocrackpot says:

    Love this, Bonnie.


  2. Danny Solomon says:

    I once heard someone say that a mystic embodies these qualities: when eyes are closed, a mystic contemplates peace. When eyes are open a mystic asks how may I serve?
    I very much agree with this, but I wonder if to a mystic it matters whether their eyes are opened or closed. Contemplating peace and serving others sound like the exact same thing to me.
    These acts of kindness are what can change this world for the better. This story is amazing, the love and respect evident here helps humble me and shows me with great CLARITY what is true beauty!
    Danny (blind)


  3. Karen says:

    My hairdresser called me to make arrangements to cut & put color on my hair.


  4. Joann Baker says:

    I loved this and it is so important to appreciate the small gifts in life, especially in times like this. I am really touched by the children and how you acknowledged the importance of these seemingly small gestures. Everybody loves to be acknowledged and appreciated.


  5. Linda C Dye says:

    I walk Sycamore Canyon almost every evening. I decided to smile and wave at every vehicle that passes by, even in the dark!


  6. Lanene Waters says:

    I have been helping a lady here in our apartment building by taking her with me when I do shopping so she can go too. I even buy her lunch or a snack when we are out. Love helping her!


  7. Janet Huber says:

    I carry extra doggie bags when walking my dogs and pick up the poop left on lawns and sidewalks by other dogs.


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