A few months ago, my mom gave me a copy of a scrapbook put together for my home church’s 125th Anniversary. She knows I’m really interested in genealogy, and I have deep roots in my little hometown (and by that I mean we’re all related). I flipped through it with her, enjoying the old photos.
My grandmother is in quite a few of the pictures, but she’s always standing in the back. “She was never one to draw attention for her good works,” my mom said. “She had a real servant’s heart.”
That phrase has stuck with me lately. For the past few months, I have been on the strangest, strongest volunteering kick of my life. I mean, I never used to seek out volunteer opportunities, and I’ve gone on three so far this week. The change is radical. And positive (I mean, obviously), but I don’t really know where it came from. Maybe spending so many years in the company of social-justice oriented nuns has finally had an effect on me. Maybe I’m antsy. Maybe I just like it when three-year-olds pull my hair and slam my head into desks while we color.
I’d like to pretend it has to do with having a servant’s heart, like my grandmother. But let’s be real here. The only reason I get in the back row of a picture is because I know what angles work for me (and that would be “mostly hidden”). I can’t keep my mouth shut about anything I do, good or bad. Whether it’s lookin’ awkward on TV for The Salvation Army or buying a Funnoodle from the Rainbow Foods in Uptown at 2:30 a.m. (hypothetical example), if I think it’s funny, I’m going to tell everyone and their internet about it.
Some things should be publicized: the famine in the Horn of Africa is one I have no problems harping on about and hyperlinking to in everything I write. Prepare to be hit with some more Step Out to Fight Diabetes action as I prepare to slow jog a 5K this month. And if you make it through 2011 without volunteering at Feed My Starving Children with me, we must not know each other in real life. Tell me, how did you find my blog?
I’m trying to come to terms with wanting a servant’s heart and having a braggart’s mouth. My compromise of sorts is to ask myself why I’m telling someone a story. Is it because I want them to think highly of me? Or is it because it involves something silly and might make them laugh? I am going to try to stop myself from telling the first kind, but the second is fair game. All I really want out of life, and I mean this in the most serious way possible, is to live ridiculously for the amusement of others. Because is there anything better than making someone laugh?
Oh, dear. Does it matter why I’ve fallen in love with volunteering? No, I guess not. Let me put this argument with myself to rest.
There are things to be done. And there are stories to be told. For now, I’ll just keep trying to do both.