During the times that we are being generous and serving others, we tend to remember and reflect on (either consciously or sub-consciously) all of the ways that we have been blessed which at times drives us to help others. We think about the unique skills, talents, material possessions, special opportunities and advantages we have received and desire to share them with those experiencing challenges, difficulties and who are in need.
However, when it comes to remembering and recognizing those who have offered extraordinary service who have come before us and sacrificed much for us to have plenty, we usually take for granted what they have done and don’t give it much thought.
For example, if you carefully look around, you will discover remembrances of those individuals throughout the past hundreds of years who have given of their wealth and service which has greatly impacted our lives. Take a moment to stop and read the placards, monuments and other remembrances located in hospitals, libraries, churches, schools, human service agencies, parks, museums and cultural institutions, to name a few. Through their extraordinary service, the individuals listed on those placards and monuments helped to create the institutions that enhance the quality of our lives each day. Unless we stop and take a moment to reflect on those who have come before us, we rarely consider the origination of those organizations.
We also tend to take for granted (I know that I do) those who serve us every day through sunshine and storms, rain, ice and snow. Those persons are the letter carriers of the U.S. Postal Service.
The letter carriers in my neighborhood recently conducted a drive collecting food for those in need in our community. Isn't it enough that our postal service workers serve us day in and day out sorting and delivering our mail? Their generosity to others is demonstrated by how they used their daily activity of delivering mail to, at the same time, collect food for those in need. Their true hearts and motivation were exposed through that extraordinary act of generous service.
Another group of people we tend to take for granted (unless we are the recipient of a speeding or parking ticket – smile) are those who serve us each day wearing the blue uniform. There may not be a more difficult job in today's world than that of a police officer. They experience many challenges and difficulties each day.
A great example of extraordinary service by those in blue, recently took place in Fort Worth, Texas. A 95-year-old man called the 911 emergency line indicating that his air conditioning was broken. As you know, it can yet dangerously hot in Texas. When the two responding police officers arrived, they were met at the door by the 95-year old gentleman. Once learning about the dangerous situation, the officers made a trip to Home Depot to purchase a window air-conditioning unit. They purchased the unit with their own money along with contributions made by some Home Depot workers. After installing the unit and getting the room cooled down they contacted a local heating and cooling company that proceeded to fix the man's central air conditioning unit for free. Isn't it enough that these police officers responded to the crisis situation yet alone take money out of their own pocket to help a 95-year-old man? What a great story of extraordinary service.
Obviously, those who work in civil-service are committed to a community that is safe, healthy and enriching to live. They value their work and the people they serve. Many are so committed and passionate about their service that it's natural for them to go above and beyond the standard line of duty.
If you ask them, they would typically say it's just a part of doing the job. It's a part of their personal DNA to help and serve others. To do more than is called for is not extraordinary in their minds and hearts.
Is there a need or a cause that you are committed and passionate about? Do you value its mission in a way that you will go above and beyond serving in extraordinary ways that does not feel extra ordinary but instead gives you energy, vitality and a great feeling of satisfaction?
It's clear that serving in extraordinary ways is easy and impactful when we care and are passionate about that which we are involved.
Like the letter carriers or the Fort Worth police officers, consider ways that you can leverage your everyday activities in ways that you can provide extraordinary service to those with whom you come in contact. As a result, many people will unexpectedly be blessed by you and the ripple effect may just create a lasting imprint on your community.
For more thoughts on generosity pick up a copy of the enjoyable book, “An Unexpected Legacy: Strategies of Generosity.” Click here to place your order.