Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Service nurtures both the giver and receiver

No man can help another without helping himself. Ralph Waldo Emerson
One day last spring, I had the privilege of helping my mother, who had cancer, rake her front lawn. Even though the doctor had put her on hospice, she was still very active She loved yard work and wanted her garden pristine. Her messy pine tree thwarted that wish at times, so we constantly picked up pine cones and raked pine needles.
She was exhausted after half an hour's work, but determined to finish--raking errant needles and cones, then resting a minute, only to begin again. Over and over until the task was complete. What a privilege it was to work with her. What a sense of industry and follow through she had. Her gift to me that day--the inspiration to stick to a task and complete it no matter what--was greater than any small about of help I gave her in the yard.
I have a neighbor that just turned 100. She’s in a rest home now, and I visit her every week for just a few minutes. Her face brightens when I enter the room. She’s so happy to see me. I catch her up on neighborhood news, and she asks how her yard looks. Has her grandson trimmed her roses? Are her tulips in bloom yet? I do love seeing her and giving her a hug. I feel filled with love every time I leave her side.
What a blessing it is to enjoy the elderly in my life. Their wisdom coupled with their child-like purity filters warmth into every part of my being. I love being part of their goodness.
Ralph Waldo Emerson's words, No man can help another without helping himself, rings true to me, bringing copious bounty into my life.


  1. What a blessing it is to have multi-generational connections! Nice post!

  2. What a lovely post and it is very true that no man can help another without helping himself. I have always found that to be true. I know just how you feel. I visit my Aunt Della who will turn 100 in September each week and I come home so inspired by her. She is amazing and has such a good memory. I have done her life history which was a true joy.
    Blessings, love and hugs!

    1. Older friends and family are such an inspiration to us all.