Freedom to be part of something bigger than ourselves, at least our immediate, physical self. That is a gift given by the creator and that we may choose to give of ourselves. Births and weddings and tragically, deaths also bring this boldly to our minds. Freedom involves the ability to give of ourselves. It may be as simple as a smile or a hug or it may be financially, if we have the means, or in an act of opening a door or helping a child be returned to a place of safety.
The ability to be of service is something that the human being was made for. Take it away and one begins to feel lost and isolated and can even lose their sense of sanity. I believe that this is one of the great disservices that we have given to the elderly for decades. We have allowed them to be absolved into a state of non-contribution that leaves them without a place from which to serve. I love the fact that the apostles are all elderly men in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. That tells me a great deal about Heavenly Father’s ideas about aging.
I have a dear friend who has been living with chronic pain and she finds respite in finding ways to be of service and share her talents. She is a great example to me. This is what the organization of the church allows us as a people. We are commanded to meet together often and we receive callings and responsibilities to serve. The serving we are given strengthens not only ourselves but others as well. Ah,” but it is not given freely you say because it is a responsibility to church membership”. Quite the contrary, this is, I believe, one way that God manifests what true freedom is, in that we agree to accept a responsibility and serve one another even as we would serve him.
I cannot help but switch this analogy over to the relationship between a man and a woman in marriage. Oh,”but to plan a date or acts of kindness is to manipulate or take the spontaneity out of it”, some may say. On the contrary to think about ways to serve and to make a place in your life for your spouse and your family needs to be the highest priority next to tending to your own physical and emotional well being. Even here, there are times we give a bit more than we have to give to serve others. If this occurs too often however, it becomes an addiction of self-abuse and leads to wrongful dependency instead of freedom on behalf of the rest of the family members.
I believe that men for a time were taught that they do not need to plan their family into their days where women in decades past were taught to do only that. Perhaps in this twenty first century the reverse is occurring, when it needs to be a universal acknowledgement as a part of humanity. Service is an attitude and a mind set. It is a choice. And this is especially important to recognize in the family and more so between husband and wife. It is to be counted a manifestation of freedom rather that a burden or a trial.
Without family nearby it is still our responsibility to find ways to serve. Even those who must be served due to bodily limitations can serve others by their positive attitudes and pleasant demeanor’s. And those serving can lift their spirits by acknowledging how helpful their gestures are.
Looking for ways to serve shows a recognition for some truths about freedom such as the recognition that we are all one, that we are all dependent on one another in some way or another and that to dishonor someone else is to dishonor the self.
This having been said it is important to recognize that there are different cultures among us and that a service to one may be an intrusion to another. This is something that we risk as we accept the freedoms we have. There will be risk. This is so and we do not want to be afraid of that or let it keep us from attempting to serve. No one likes to feel unappreciated or to feel that their kindness has offended someone or is not wanted, but that should not keep us from looking for those opportunities because what we do to one another we do unto Christ and Heavenly Father and the angels make note of it and it will be counted for our good.