Before I ever knew that the above quote was scripture, I grew up knowing that it was an important concept to the people around me. First from my parents, then from my grandparents, then my schools and my peers. I was always being told that serving others was better than be served.
And yet, it wasn’t until I attended Howard University that it really began to take hold in my spirit. Until that time, I think I’d intellectualized the concept — knowing that it was important mostly because everyone said it was important. Just like I volunteered mostly because I’d always volunteered. But it was just something about being at Howard that made it so much more real for me. Maybe it was going to a school in the middle of a neighborhood that had yet to be gentrified. Maybe it was learning the history of Black people serving in this country and abroad or taking classes in buildings named after pioneers who spent their lives caring about other people. Maybe it was when I began working at a local teen program the summer of my junior year and could finally see firsthand the impact a few could have on many. It was probably a combination of all of those — but what I know for sure is that I came out of Howard with not only a degree in Print Journalism, but a zeal for service.
Now, I’m not going to lie to you all and try to pretend like I’m some kind of saint here. I am selfish. I am not very “green” (lol). I think about the ways in which I am affected by the things that go on in our world. But, I am also constantly reminded that on my worst days, someone has it that much harder than me. And so since I’ve been blessed, I must be a blessing to others. Everyone does this in different ways, of course. But I’ve learned that when you take even just a couple hours out of your week to help someone other than you, the difference you can make can be absolutely extraordinary.
Which is why as much as I want to take Monday off and lay around at home in my comfy pajama pants and my twerk team tank top, I will most likely be out volunteering somewhere, helping to make someone’s day just a little better. Not out of obligation, but because Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. showed us the importance of serving others — that without the village working together, no great works can get done. So I honor him and the other men and women who have given unto me with their inspiration by giving unto others.
And I hope you’ll consider doing the same.
If you’re thinking of volunteering somewhere on Monday, check out the following link to find out where you can do so. My DC, MD, VA folks can also use the second link to help them.
Enjoy your holiday this Monday!!