You want happiness, we all do. And there’s only one rule for happiness in this world, Sue, and that’s service. Just to the degree that they serve, people are happy, and no more. It’s an infallible test. You can try nations by it, you can try kings and beggars. Poor people are just as unhappy as rich people, when they’re idle; and rich people are really happy only when they’re serving somebody or something.
Kathleen Norris, Saturday’s Child Artemis Publishing. Kindle Edition.
I found this little quote in a quaint old book…a lot of things contribute to my happiness, and I would put faith and family at the top of my list. I separate those two from the concept of service. But maybe that’s not accurate either, for what does faith and family call us to, if not service? Maybe the best things in life are simply disguises for opportunities that allow us to serve. We serve from various motives…family love, or faith that moves mountains, or belief in a cause, or ambition to achieve. But doesn’t the work we do distill to service?
I’ve equated the terms service and work. But they’re not really equivalent. I suppose you could serve without working, and work without truly serving. Maybe the difference in the two is the sense of purpose that lies behind service. Work is just work. But service is defined by deliberate intention.
I think I’ve worked enough in my life. I’m going to look through a different lens, think about how I’m able to serve as I move through my days. That’s not intended to make me sound saintly, just purposeful. Maybe what I adjust is not specific action. Maybe I adjust my vision to see how I can contribute, and what I am contributing to. Maybe I just need to reframe to see clearly.
Service equals happiness? Or perhaps, service equals satisfaction? Either is good, both are goals. Happiness and satisfaction. Yes, that sounds about right.