Serving others creates memorable moments

by Life Editor Mari Williams

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” Once again the 14th Dalai Lama is right.

There is a somewhat subtle but sublime feeling that comes over me anytime I work on a service project. It is tremendously humbling to know I am working toward something larger than myself. There is this brief internal moment when I think, “Wow, I matter. I helped someone feel just a little bit better, more comfortable and happier.”

I do not do it for myself but because I feel some innate call to service. This is a call I feel everyone hears but not everyone answers.

I can remember vaguely when my love for service began. When I was 10, my mother put on events for spouses of deployed soldiers and their children. She would pick me up early from after-school care and let me help decorate the room. I was filled with such childish glee when I saw how much the spouses and their children were enjoying themselves. I thought it odd how something as simple as playing music, throwing together a few decorations and setting up trivial activities could help distract them from one unfortunate reality: their husbands and fathers were living in a war zone.

My junior year of high school I joined my school’s Key Club looking to get involved in something other than theatre. We hosted pancake breakfasts, volunteered at the zoo, rang the hell out of Salvation Army bells and so much more.

To some it was another bullet on their resume, but to others service was much simpler. It was taking a few hours out of the day for the greater good of the community. We did this not because it was the “right” thing to do, but because it had not crossed our minds to live any other way.

For a year I got caught up in my own frenzied life and completely ignored the call of service. Subsequently, I missed the feeling – I missed the work.

Recently I joined UNA’s Circle K RSO and could not be more satisfied with the decision. I encourage all students on campus to find their service niche. Circle K, Lions Club and Alternative Breaks are all significant volunteer-based RSOs that give more meaning to the college experience.

Life is fickle and often demented. It does not play favorites and can knock even the best of us onto our tails. In a moment’s notice any of us can find ourselves in a position of needing help. Help yourself, but take the time to give to others and get back tenfold.