“When we help, we become aware of our own strength. But when we serve, we don’t serve with our strength; we serve with ourselves, and we draw from all of our experiences. Our limitations serve; our wounds serve; even our darkness can serve. My pain is the source of my compassion; my woundedness is the key to my empathy.
“Serving makes us aware of our wholeness and its power. The wholeness in us serves the wholeness in others and the wholeness in life. The wholeness in you is the same as the wholeness in me. Service is a relationship between equals: our service strengthens us as well as others. Fixing and helping are draining, and over time we may burn out, but service is renewing. When we serve, our work itself will renew us. In helping we may find a sense of satisfaction; in serving we find a sense of gratitude.” — Rachel Naomi Remen
This past week, I started a new job. According to my resume, this is the twelfth time since 1978 that I have changed companies. I can’t even begin to count the number of jobs I have had during this time. Some job changes were due to layoffs or company closings. Others were caused by my desire to move in a different direction in my career. Some job changes were positive experiences while some were not so positive. But this most recent job change makes me feel like I have finally come home.
I now work for a very small organization with a very big mission. By doing my job, I will be serving communities in the State of Georgia where people share our mission. I will not be helping, I will be serving. In serving these communities, I will be drawing on my experiences, my limitations, my wounds, and my darkness. I will strengthen myself and be grateful for the opportunity I have been given to serve.
When I was hired, an announcement was sent out that I was the perfect person for the job. I was deeply flattered by this and, of course, frightened that I would not be good enough to be the perfect person, until I came across the quotation about by Dr. Remen. My lived experiences and my darkness make me the perfect person to serve others. My pain gives me compassion, my wounds give me empathy.
I am home. I look forward to serve.