i read about – on facebook i think – an organization, most likely an organization of women – who volunteer to come to the homes of other women with breast cancer and clean their houses. i imagine they offer to do other necessary chores that these women who are suffering through the ravages of breast cancer are not able to get to – shopping, whatever.

this is a wonderful thing. i feel a little (maybe even a lot) sheepish and guilty for not having offered my services and my able body (back when i had one) to people i knew or knew of, who were in need of simple things like household chores – lawn mowing, odds and ends of carpentry, whatever i could do. granted, i have never been a real handy guy, but i know how to put up a grab-bar or vacuum a carpet or clean a bathroom.

and i know that the women being served by this service are in need of the support, but probably don’t, for whatever reason, to ask for it. i know when my daughter was desperately ill many years ago, i was at first reluctant to accept, and then very glad to receive, a week or two of dinners prepared and delivered to me by friends. not something i would ever have asked for, and something i didn’t even know i needed.

this has gotten me thinking about service, and i wish to heck i had thought of this when i still had the capacity to offer my own service (maybe i still do, but haven’t yet thought yet of what it could be). i wonder why this needs to be an organized service. why don’t people who are able, who know people who are not, simply show up at their homes and wash their kitchen floor, or clean their bathroom, or even just tell them to get in the car and come for a ride, get a cuppa, or just take them to a park and sit on bench with them – get them out of the house. all without waiting to be asked. why didn’t i?

again, i feel badly that, when i had the ability to drive, i never did this for people i knew of who’s lives could have been improved, even for an afternoon, by such a simple act. it seems to be part of being human. there are people – and i admit i am one of them – who can clean their own bathroom, and can get themselves out of the house, but who feel stymied by the fact that, though they can do these things, they now require substantially more energy than they used to. i can wash my kitchen floor, but it takes me four times as long as it used to, and wipes me out.

so i am largely berating myself here for not being as caring and generous and thoughtful a human as i easily could have been, when i could have been. and imploring my other fellow humans to step up and be human. and i will search for, and be wide open to suggestions for, how i can be of service to others who’s needs i can fill.

Author: Stephen

Stephen Harris is a writer, painter and a photographer who lives with his family in Maine.

2 thoughts on “service”

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