You Be The One

The Pleasure of Serving
by Gabriela Mistral

All of nature is a yearning for service:
The cloud serves, and the wind, and the furrow.

Where there is a tree to plant, you be the one.
Where there is a mistake to undo, let it be you.

You be the one to remove the rock from the field,
The hate from human hearts,
And the difficulties from the problem.

There is joy in being wise and just,
But above all there is the beautiful,
The immense happiness of serving.

How sad the world would be if all was already done.
If there was no rosebush to plant,
No enterprise to undertake.

Do not limit yourself to easy tasks.
It’s so beautiful to do what others dodge.

But don’t fall prey to the error that only
Great tasks done can be counted as accomplishments.
There are small acts of service that are good ones:
Decoratively setting a table,
Putting some books in order,
Combing a little girl’s hair.
That one over there is the one that criticizes,
This other one is the one that destroys.
You be the one that serves.

Serving is not a labor just for inferior beings.
God, who gives fruit and light, serves.
His name could be rendered thus: He Who Serves.

And he has his eyes on our hands,
And he asks us at the close of day:
“Did you render service today? To whom?
To a tree, to your friend, to your mother?”

– Gabriela Mistral: was a Chilean poet-diplomat, educator and feminist

light housemh(Lighthouse, UP, Michigan, by me)

Powerful question: “Who did you render service to today?” Was there someone you held the door open for? Helped with a heavy package? Made eye contact with? Who did you serve today?

Were there others you crossed the street to avoid? Was there someone you chose not to look at? Did you find yourself thinking “That person should have made a different choice.”?

As we hold in our thoughts and minds to be of service to others, could we also realize:

“In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way,
and in that I learn from him.” 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Is there anyone we cannot learn from? Is there anyone unworthy of our “service” to them? The homeless, the mentally ill, the refugee or “migrant?” The “scary Black man who might have a gun” or the “Unnatural transgendered person”? Perhaps the “American hating Muslim”. or the “White trash mother on meth”? Maybe it’s the “She asked for it” rape victim?

What stereotypes are you pretty sure you could learn nothing from? If you thought about “being of service to them”, what would that look like?

I know that when I am of service to someone I tend to care about who they are. And in caring about who they are, I learn. Not only do I learn about them, I learn about me. I change. I grow.

That one over there is the one that criticizes,
This other one is the one that destroys.
You be the one that serves.

I want to be the one who learns from ALL others. I want to be the one who serves. How about you?


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