“May I help you?” When someone asks that question and means it, it can be the start to a wonderful interaction.
“Thank you, yes you can.” Who doesn’t want to be helped.
Sadly, many people are not as gracious in their responses as the question demands. People don’t understand that service and courtesy are not to be taken for granted. Civility becomes more and more obsolete, it seems. And gratitude sadly out of fashion. (Fear not, we can bring it back!)
But to make your living on the question, if you allow it, can become about the way you face the world and not about the way people respond. And indeed, mostly, the more honestly you say the words, the more genuinely people respond.
To be of service. Each of us should experience making our living in service. It changes you. Hopefully, it makes you embrace gratitude and civility. Hopefully it makes you tip better as you appreciate that, for the most part, the people who ask that question with every interaction are often fiercely underpaid.
But to ask that question and mean it can be exhilarating. As frustrating as it can be, it can be a way of Peace. And all of us, whatever our work, might learn to ask that question and base our interactions on it. How may I help you? I try to ask it of people I meet. I try to ask it of Peace.
It’s not that I don’t know that Peace is desperately needed all over the world. It’s just that I know that I am best suited for working on Peace here where I live, here i my little vida local. I have a friend Kelly who works on Peace with girls all over the world, she works to give them tools to know who they are, what they care about and what they’re capable of. She gives them space to love each other and laugh together. She’s planting seeds of Peace. Some of them are for Peace plants that explode into being and flower immediately. Most of them become tiny shoots that the girls nurture together.
Never underestimate the bonding power of late night s’mores… There’s a future in that.
I’m always clapping for Kelly, I’m a huge cheerleader for her, and on a couple occasions, I’ve been able to do more. Makes me happy.
But that’s not where I’m best. I’m best right here, right now. Standing in the Park with my neighbors, trying to raise money for programs that other people start and staff… June Jordan, poet, wrote what may be the most important words of my life: “We do what we can, more than that what can anyone ask?” This is my sacred service. This is my work.
But that much we can ask. How do we serve Peace?
Because if we’re not working for Peace, Peace isn’t working. If we look at this world, there are an awful lot of places that Peace isn’t working. For a long time, that whole servant metaphor didn’t do it for me. But I simply hadn’t found my cause. So… what’s yours? What’s the Peace in your life that you can’t rest if you’re not making some Progress toward?
Peace, Love and understanding — and for me, food in the bellies of kids in this Valley. Who’s in?