What Does Service Mean To Me? by Donna Roberts

Bali image

“Golden Statue of Reclining Buddha” Photography by Andrew Brownbill, Lonely Planet Photographer copyright Lonely Planet Images 2011

Donna Roberts is founder of” Desert Mothers” and committed lifelong advocate to service.

I was asked what service means to me. I had never thought about it before.  Service has always been a part of life.  I have been on both sides of service—getting help and offering it.

A tragedy changed my life at an early age which made me dependent on the kind heartedness of others.  So at a very young age I learned that people who care and give of their time and money can change lives.  Later a man risked his career to help me get into college.  This was a real turning point in my life.

About this time, my service work took me back to my spiritual journey.  I learned an important lesson, to be being in service was the thing that enriched my spiritual path and showed me what unconditional love was. My path then led me to Bali, I found an outstanding teacher who taught me so much.

One of my greatest lessons was that he introduced me to my creative self.  I found that service, spiritually and creatively, is the most powerful and wonderful blissful path one can walk.  These wonderful people of Bali live their lives spiritually every moment of their lives.  My teacher told me this story:

During World War II, the Japanese attacked Bali.  They killed thousands and forced their women to become sexual slaves.  His mother finally died from the abuse.  One of his sisters killed herself due to the shame.  He spent his entire life hating the Japanese.  His teacher told him for  his soul’s sake, he had to go to Japan and help the Japanese people.  He was terrified of flying and on the trip he lost his billfold.  He landed –no money; not knowing a soul– and ended up living on the street.  He met an older Japanese woman who took him home and fed him and cleaned him up.  Her husband had been killed in Bali.  A long healing process started with many problems.  He ended up rebuilding her house and some of her neighbor’s home.  Because of the act of service, many people were healed of hate and found their souls. 

Dr. Erikson said that a healthy life is a life lived in service giving back.  So to answer the question—Service to me is New Beginnings, helping people change situations, self-esteem, caring, love, healing old wounds, no judgment and teaching others to care. Some of the most loved and respectable people in history are there because of their service to others.  For me, I know my life has really mattered.  How about you?

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Categories: Community, Philanthropy


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