Being in service

Lots of times we don’t get the opportunity to see or hear of results from our being in service and, when feedback comes, it warms the heart.

Recently the education series that Christa Campsall, Kathy Marshall, Jane Tucker and I are putting together brought us a lovely comment on the difference it was making in a teacher’s life.  It made me think about my Pops and I decided to share his story.

My wise old dad said if one lived with these two guideposts in life, there would be contentment, and he was so right.

"I have to live with myself and so, I must be fit for myself to know,"


"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Pops was all about service and listening to his "guide inside."  His mom died in childbirth, he was put into foster care and abandoned by his father for six years.  Despite the lack of opportunity for love and attachment and a sense of belonging, Pops found that deep well inside himself where the everlasting arms of protection held him safe and taught him how to live a satisfying life.

Pops had a small construction company that employed seven or eight fellows.  He kept his men employed even when there was no work. Where he found the money I will never know, but I am pretty sure he always dug deep into his own pocket.  Pops did jobs for people who could never pay and he knew that doing that type of things was simply “paying it forward.”

Pops never locked a door because he said "if someone takes something they must need it more than you do."  He hired dozens of displaced people after the war to give them a fresh start and would give anybody anything he felt would help them in life.  Pops’ life was about service and the things he did, were done without fanfare, done quietly and the list was infinite.  

There were times that people took advantage of Pops’ generosity but he never got mad, he just said they had something to learn from it.

When Pops died, I found a black box filled with his little treasures: books by Mary Baker Eddy, Unitarian booklets, Unity poetry books, Emmet Fox.  I talked to my friend Syd Banks about what I had discovered and his eyes welled up and he said "he really found something inside himself, didn't he."

So, this little story shared to say that our service to those working with youth is vital and beautiful and I am so grateful to work with people who just want to "put it out there!"  Being "the hollow reed."

…make me a hollow reed, through which the pith of self hath been blown, so that I may become a clear channel through which love may flow to others.
— George Townshend, Universal House of Justice, Sept. 27, 1992