SWILLY:

Lately, I’ve been wondering if it’s good enough in life to “simply” be a good wife and a good mom, or whether more is demanded of those of us who are able. By more, I usually mean whether we have a duty to serve those who fall outside of the bounds of our direct and extended families. I usually end up on the side of, Yes. While we must  fulfill our duties to our children, our spouse, our parents, our siblings, our in-laws and so forth, we do in fact have a responsibility to extend ourselves to another. I’m especially convinced that having kids, and multiple kids at that, is no excuse for not serving another. Afterall, for most of us*, bringing life into the world, multiple times if that applies, was our own choice. While it may be time consuming, it is what we signed up for, and it doesn’t excuse us from extra-familiar service.

Today, I read this piece by Maureen Dowd’s called Why, God?, wherein her family friend priest, Father Chuck O’Malley, describes how God enters the world through us. During times of hardship and suffering, others can feel God’s presence by how we choose to help them through these tough times. The Father goes on to describe, “A contemporary theologian has described mercy as ‘entering into the chaos of another.’ … I have never found it easy to be with people who suffer, to enter into the chaos of others. Yet, every time I have done so, it has been a gift to me, better than the wrapped and ribboned packages. I am pulled out of myself to be love’s presence to someone else, even as they are love’s presence to me.”

As often happens with these articles, I often love the comments that folks leave behind. One in particular stood out, from Lee in Naples, FL. He (or she) wrote: “Expose yourself to the pain of another’s suffering and love them and be with them in love, and that is all we can do. That is where we find our divinity.”

I kind of really like that!

As Nipun often reminds us, we need not do big things, simply small things with big love. Lee’s comment reflected that side of service to me. Allowing yourself to be present for one’s suffering — entering one’s chaos — is a type of service. Surely, each of us has a little bit of time to extend our presence and comfort to a few souls, even if the file has to be sent, the house has to be vacuumed, dinner’s gotta be made, the in-laws have to be phoned, and the kids have soccer practice.

*Written based on the assumption that kids will enter our lives at some point, God/karma/destiny willing