Sometime in college, a group of friends and I took hold of the phrase, “It’s a pleasure” when we would perform some small act of service for one another. The phrase revolutionized our views on anything that could be considered work, though long before looking positively at the long devotion of the daily “grind” became an exercise of the will, instead of merely a passion of youth. There’s this friend of mine who truly seems to radiate this truth. We served together on the same team of middle school teachers, and I saw her live out her delight in helping others again and again. I’d also call her my processing friend. She’s always prompting her students to think critically and imaginatively, helping others think through things positively, always processing things herself. Though she puzzles often at the heartache and flawed systems in the world, that only seems to inspire her more to do whatever she can to help them change for the better.
Since she also took me in as her friend, and even an adopted daughter, I have since become the beneficiary of her kindness over and over again. She would often graciously help me navigate the small community in which she’d lived most of her adult life as I got to know it for myself. When illness hit and my family wasn’t nearby, she did everything in her power to help me get the care I needed and continue to teach. With everything from driving me to long distance appointments and providing a listening ear, to helping me grade papers and plan lessons, the phrase I’d receive in return for any thanks was, “It’s my pleasure. I would LOVE to do that for you.”
There aren’t many people that regularly render any service with such flexibility and joy. This friend convinced me more than ever how crucial it is to adopt this attitude toward life and relationships and work. It’s not only that she’s touched my life profoundly with her friendship and kindness, it’s also watching the world change ever so slightly with each act. How much lighter any task seems when we can gladly and enthusiastically offer it, whether it is in service to a friend or to God, for the good of humanity, or even just for ourselves. In I Corinthians 10:31, the Apostle Paul encourages us to take every task, even eating and drinking, and do each in a way that it can indeed be seen as an offering for the greater good: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it ALL for the glory of God.”