08 May 2012

Becoming Extraordinary

My Mother, Snow White, by Susan Hayward
Last Christmas I was in Tennessee, away from family and friends, serving a mission for my church. We were up every morning at 6:30, worked all day, then in bed by 10:30pm. Every day. On Christmas Day we got to call home and talk to our families, but that was it. But what could have potentially been a very lonely time for us missionaries was brightened by a kind deed: One of the missionaries' grandmothers had spent the last few months knitting scarves for all 130+ of us missionaries. That weekend we each got a new scarf, surely made with so much love and care.

Nowadays I occasionally volunteer at my local YWCA, which, among other things, provides temporary emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence. Yesterday one of the staff wheeled in a big barrel of gift bags: mothers day gifts for the residents donated by some local woman. The staff member was sporting a huge smile, and that joy and excitement soon spread throughout the room. What an extraordinary act of service this anonymous woman had performed.

I used to view these acts of service in awe, and I still do, but now with a greater understanding of how to serve. I sincerely believe that everyone has the potential to serve in extraordinary ways. The only catch is that there is no cookie cutter for "extraordinary service." That is something that we have to discover within ourselves, and when we do finally see our individual potentials, we cannot sit idly by while others work for this greater good. We must go and serve selflessly in whatever way we know how to.

A few years ago, my dear mother (a pre-school teacher by trade) showed up to a Halloween party dressed as Snow White. The children were dazzled by their teacher, a Disney Princess in the flesh. The next year Snow White showed up again, with the same reaction. Then Snow White started showing up elsewhere: a neighborhood tea party, a school fundraiser, etc. The reaction was always the same: complete awe, joy, and excitement. My Mother is Snow White, and that is an act of extraordinary service.

I am not a knitting-extraordinaire, nor am I wealthy enough to financially support non-profit organizations. I certainly do not have that special sweet heart (or petite dress size) of my mother. But I am blessed with the creative ability to write and share music. Over the last couple months I have learned how to use that talent to serve others in ways that I hadn't thought of before. I never expect a return for any of the songs I create, but I find myself rewarded tenfold. It brings so much joy to me, yet it is something that comes so easy to me.

Serving in extraordinary ways does not have to be hard. I am positive that you, dear reader, have a hidden ability just waiting to come out and bless the people around you. My challenge to you is to ponder that ability, find it, refine it, and use it.

How have you been blessed by the service of others? How has serving others blessed you?

1 comment:

Alicia F. said...

Thank you Allie for your thoughts. You really have done so much with your music. I am so impressed. And I know I have said it before but my sister, her husband, I, and everyone who has heard your song is so grateful that you use your talent to put words to music that can help us remember baby Calvin. Thank you for sharing your talents. I think I have some thinking about what I can do to serve were I can.