Have You ever found it hard to find the joy in helping others? I have many times, as there seems endless chores to do at home. Gandhi wisely reminds me that "service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant or the server".
One of my children taught me the truth of Gandhi's words many years ago. Like most of us I tend to spend a lot of time in the laundry. In the past most of this time was spent without much joy or care. I would be in there huffing and puffing with a negative, resentful soundtrack going on in my mind. "Why was it my job? Why didn't anyone seem to care of appreciate my efforts? I have better things to be doing with my time, I spend half my life in the laundry, I just want to get it done as quick as possible and get out of there". The service rendered in this case lacked joy and care too. I tended to be slapdash, pairing the socks any which way, hanging and folding haphazardly and hastily in a desperate effort to finish and move on.
I did not realise the unhelpful habits I was creating. I was building up resentment and unhappiness. I did not know I had a choice to make it agony or fun.
One day one of my boys announced with joy "don't you love it w hen you open your socks and they are the right way around". "Really!" I thought, "it makes a difference if I take the time to turn the sock the right way around!" My slapdash resentment in the laundry was not helpful to me or my family. No joy for me or them.
I made a decision that day, I would make the laundry somewhere I could serve with joy. No more resentment and negativity there. I would also do my best to be mindful and take care as I paired, folded and hung. It has truly become a favourite place of mine. A poster with a quote from the Dalai Lama hangs there. It reads
The true meaning of life
"We are visitors on this planet, we are here for ninety of one hundred years at the very most. During the period, we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. If you contribute to other people's happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life."
Since that day I always take care to pair the socks the right way around so they are easy to get on. I try not to rush either and as best I can mindfully and carefully do the laundry. I recently got a new washing machine as I needed to retire my old faithful one. My new machine and a new clothes horse have made the laundry even more fun!
As my family have grown up I have began to share the laundry. This probably could have happened a little earlier. I now share the joy with them as I learn to let go of the control and share one of my favourite places.
So again I am reminded that when I can be mindful of unhelpful habits and aware to get that 'what about me, Maree' out of the way and instead do my best to benefit others that as Gandhi says - the server and those served have the opportunity for joy.