The Happy Friday Series: Be The Sun And Serve

Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 9.37.29 AM“Mommy, you have to come with us! It’s so fun. Please!”

We lived on Shady Lane, and the shade  was profound. I was making it through the days as best I could but truth be told I was struggling.

I needed light desperately. Sunlight.

So, I dressed my tired body  and trudged to Tree Hill down the street and bordering the pond. The kids were racing ahead, and I thought about warning them that I wasn’t going to last long, so hurry up and get done with this joyful experience you’re convinced I’m going to have. But I didn’t.

We reached the top of the path and came out of the woods onto a bare hill drenched in warming sunlight. I sat down and nearly cried. I sat and sat and sat and dreaded going home to the darkness. I spent a lot of time at Tree Hill while we lived on Shady Lane, needless to say.

You might think that this post is about getting outside and basking in the sun, collecting your vitamin D for the day.

It’s not.

It’s about being the sun for someone else.

Being On Edge

Let me share with you how I felt the other day in order to explain it better.

I was on edge. The edge. All I could focus on was the sleep I wasn’t getting and I was not a happy camper.

What do you do when you feel like that?

I considered the typical options, but nothing appealed to me. I was sinking deeper into the mire of misery…in the breeding ground of boredom…that was being fueled by extreme fatigue.

“Call Lois.” That was a strange and unexpected  thought. It bordered on annoying because all I really wanted to do was sleep.

Lois is in her late eighties, early nineties. I haven’t seen her for a while. I’d thought of her at least three times in two days. But I had no reason to call her. We used to visit a lot and talk about genealogy and her dogs.

So I picked up the phone and called her. Her phone was disconnected. So, I called her daughter. Her phone was disconnected, too. All of a sudden I was concerned about Lois and her family. Where were they? How was she? Was there something they might need?

I reflected for a second on what had happened and giggled. I hadn’t even done anything more than start thinking about someone else and I’d started to feel better.

I’d sort of been like the sun.

The energy inside of me was released outward to touch someone else’s life and suddenly, somehow, I was brighter.

Showing up in life and giving what we can in the moments that we share makes us all a part of life’s warming rays for the people who show up at the same time. We choose whether or not to give our light or to withhold it.

I get it. Sometimes we’re tired. But maybe we’re not so much physically tired but emotionally fatigued because we haven’t been able to really connect with other people in meaningful ways.

Maybe we expect too much return on our investment of time and energy.

Maybe we are thinking “what’s in it for me?”

It’s About Service

There are some things I know about service:

  • A need is a need, and others’ needs come at inconvenient times.
  • People don’t wake up (typically) and plan to have an accident, lose their job, or have their house burn down, or struggle with depression, etc.
  • When we are the poorest we’ve ever been, a neighbor, a friend, or a stranger’s lack will remind us that we still have something to give.
  • The need for service doesn’t sleep. It doesn’t wait for us to feel refreshed and chipper. We are needed now. Sleep is for later.
  • Service blesses us more than the served if we do it like the sun shines its rays- with no expectation of thanks.
  • There will always be someone else that we can think of who is more able than we are at any given moment or in any situation who could do what is needed better. But they might think of someone else, too. There are no guarantees that the car behind us will stop to give aid to the person we just passed. We can at least stop to ask how we can help. Right?
  • There is no better short-cut to joy than thinking about how we can help someone else whether it be a smile, a hug, a “thank you”, an anonymous donation, or random kindness like shoveling their snowbound walkway.

I’ll leave you with a favorite quote of mine along with the hope for you to find the happiness that serving others brings.

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.”
~Rabindranath Tagore

About The Author

Betsy Cross is a prolific blogger at What If Today and Remember. She is accessible all over the Interwebz on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Home run, Bets! And home run for the Happy Friday Series!


I have felt the blessing of the Sun, after being in shadows far too long and I have felt the overwhelming JOY and HAPPINESS of service. Betsy's gift is sharing those feelings we have no words for.... so sometimes we forget to soak it all into our own hearts. Thank you, Jayme. Thank you for The Happy Friday Series. Thank you for brow-beating us ALL into taking part... forcing us ALL into taking stock and finding those words, to share with the world what makes us happy. It is a better reminder than anything.


I loved this, Betsy!

There is nothing more fulfilling than serving others with your life.

Some folks are so self-centered, they miss out on helping themselves by helping others.

It's an empowering mindset that brings with it opportunity, clarity and answers to life's most pressing questions.

It gives you the ability to see what others don't.

By simply taking your focus off your own little world, a much bigger world with vast resources and opportunity opens up to you.

This is where you can connect to the universe and discover your reason for being born.

Cheers, miss : )

Hi Jayme!



Beautiful as always! You know, as I grow up (sounds better), I have really been confronted with the beauty of the little connections that we make along the way. I think that these connections are what life is really all about. And there is no better way of connecting with others like serving others. And there is no better kind of service than the spontaneous kind. No planning, just a tug on the heart to reach out. To be spontaneous, you need to observant and plugged in. The opportunities and blessings are endless. This is LIVING your life! Love this post- your singing my song! Thanks Betsy!

New England Multimedia
New England Multimedia

Betsy, I used to visit with a woman named Rose who became one of my closest friends. She was a week shy of 99 when she passed away in May of 2012. We met the first day of my daughter's internship at a nursing home, a requirement for a certificate for pet-assisted therapy. Rose was 95 when we met, and we bonded immediately over our shared faith. Visiting her every week wasn't a service, although everyone else thought so. I really loved her. Isn't it wonderful how what begins as a "good deed" always becomes a gift for the servant?  

Did you ever find out what happened to Lois? One thing I've learned in the last 10 years -- when someone keeps coming to mind, I need to call them. I hope you get good news! 



This is how I met you, years ago now... was with a post you wrote reminding me to "Be there".

The special, wonderful thing about this (and you recognize it, when it hits) is that "Service" is beautiful. It fills you with the non-existent sunlight, joy and HAPPINESS. Just by serving. 

This is a beautiful reminder, Betsy, thank you. 


And strangely enough, nothing may be as beautiful as good service.

Tagore writes some wonderful poems. A Bengali poet, he was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.

One of my favorites is the Beggarly Heart.

When the heart is hard and parched up, 
come upon me with a shower of mercy. 

When grace is lost from life, 
come with a burst of song. 

When tumultuous work raises its din on all sides shutting me out from 
beyond, come to me, my lord of silence, with thy peace and rest. 

When my beggarly heart sits crouched, shut up in a corner, 
break open the door, my king, and come with the ceremony of a king. 

When desire blinds the mind with delusion and dust, O thou holy one, 
thou wakeful, come with thy light and thy thunder