It’s April – a beautiful time of the year with warm days and cool nights – and much to think about. April this year brings us Easter, ANZAC Day, and recovery from devastating floods in so many areas.
These events are all bound together by one common thread - it seems everywhere we turn we are reminded of service to others in the past, present and future. We see people giving greatly of themselves to help others, to battle injustice, to make a difference.
As we celebrate Easter, or at least enjoy the public holidays, regardless of beliefs, it’s widely accepted that Jesus did exist. His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection have been jumbled in with pagan spring festivities (hence the eggs and rabbits) but for many, Jesus’ sacrifice is fundamental to their core beliefs.
Belief in something greater than ourselves is central to the desire to be of service to others.
“Nothing has ever been changed by people who cared merely about themselves. The world was made better only when ordinary people, seriously invested their lives in the service of the greater good.” - Rob Frost
Few people embody the courage and compassion required to be of service to others for the greater good than the ANZACs.
The meaning of ANZAC Day today includes the remembrance of all Australians killed in military operations. On April 25th we pause to pay our respects and express our gratitude to those who made the ultimate contribution so that we may live in peace. The legacy and spirit of the ANZACs is legendary and encompasses the values of bravery, ingenuity, endurance, humour, and mateship.
To those who lost their lives fighting for their country, we owe a debt that cannot be repaid, only honoured and remembered.
There are so many heroes, civilian and military, nameless, unsung, unknown except by those whom they helped.
While floods wreaked havoc in many areas recently, it was Lismore that was hit the hardest with water levels 2 metres higher than any previous records. The water just kept coming and people moved from the first floor of their home, to the second, to the ceiling and then to the roof. They took with them children and pets and tried to keep them all safe. Some people were on their rooves for hours, some for days as locals in boats worked tirelessly to rescue as many as they could.
And in the aftermath, thousands of volunteers, many local and some from afar, are tackling the huge task of cleaning up thousands of homes and premises. It’s hard, dirty, and sometimes hazardous work but people roll up their sleeves and help.
"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another" – Charles Dickens
No matter our own circumstances, there are always others in need of our help. And sometimes in helping others, we are the ones who are saved.
Brian Egan, the founder of farming charity Aussie Helpers, was struggling with many issues including severe depression as his farm failed. His psychologist told him that the best way to regain his mental health was to ‘go out and find someone worse off than yourself and help them.’
Brian and his wife Nerida did just that. The charity started when the couple gathered supplies from their own pantry and held a raffle in Dalby to raise funds for local farmers doing it tough.
Aussie Helpers has provided over $24 million to more than 13000 farming families and the family legacy continues with Brian and Nerida’s daughter Natasha now the chief executive. Brian always credited taking that psychologist’s advice as a turning point in his own life.
We each have opportunity to act justly in our community, helping those who need it, whether that be defending the weak, protecting the vulnerable, honouring the elderly and/or leading the young.
The good news is that you don’t have to go to war, start a charity or work in mud to make a difference. We each have gifts, things that we are good at and enjoy, and often sharing these gifts is a great way to be of service.
You can be in service to others in whatever way fits you and your lifestyle. You might
- Donate money or goods to a charity
- Volunteer your time in your community or overseas
- Respond to callouts for help in times of disaster
- Serve your country in the armed services
- Work in emergency services, health, education or government
- Serve others as a mentor in a field you are interested in whether it be sports, the arts, business, any field where your experience and knowledge can help others.
Being of service to others is one of the most fulfilling things you can do. It’s part of balancing a successful life, it feels good to do… it feels purposeful and meaningful. Being able to give makes us more grateful for what we have - and gratitude, along with kindness, are known to be key pillars to a positive mental attitude. So yes – doing good is good for you as well as the world.
The only question to ask yourself is
‘How do I choose to be of service?’
May you also find greatness in being of service to others – whether anyone else ever knows about it or not.
Have a safe and blessed month full of giving and gratitude!