Many years ago, I was chatting with a coworker about art. During the conversation he said, “I think only two things really matter in life: Creative endeavor and Service to Others.” I don’t recall his exact words, but this is close. I remember thinking back then, I am totally in agreement about creativity, but not so certain about service to others. I thought it was good and all, but to make that my focus? I wasn’t sure. Well, that was then. Today I find that service to my community is exciting and rewarding. I think the reason has something to do with getting my mind off myself. As for creativity? What could be more creative than finding new ways to serve my community? It gives me opportunities to learn, to meet new people and to stretch myself! And getting me out of the house is no small part of the benefit. Today it gives me a thrill to be able to take on a new project and to follow through.
I am big on community these days. This is not only because I like people, but because there are real benefits for me. I get to meet new folks and learn new skills. I broaden my social horizon and find out more about my community.
It occurs to me lately that we all suffer from a distortion of reality due to scale. We usually interact with a limited number of people, over the course of a week or a month. Unless we make an effort to expand, this human quantity can remain the same for years! When that happens, we can make unwarranted assumptions about our community. We may think we know our neighbors when we really do not. Perhaps this is one way prejudice arises – from ignorance.
I don’t want my world to shrink, but to expand, especially now that I am older and retired. Meeting new people is exciting! Community service is one way to accomplish this.