Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Selfless Saints--Is it even possible?

What is a saint? One of the last definitions for saint in the dictionary reads: "one eminent for piety or virture."

To me, a saint is someone who thinks only of God and others and who works to help those in need without concern for him/herself.

Based on those standards, I am not a saint.

I think about myself constantly! "When am I going to find time to finish my articles?" Why aren't I as thin as I want to be?" "Who's going to help me with these kids so I can get some rest?" Even when I'm doing for others, I find myself concentrating on me. "I'm not volunteering enough." "I'm volunteering too much." I get sick of myself sometimes!

There is only one hour of the week where I truly find myself leaning toward selflessness. That's when I'm delivering Meals on Wheels. Oh sure, I grouse every Tuesday at 11 when I know I need to get ready to pick up the meals. "I shouldn't be doing this; I should be working," I'm likely to moan. But as soon as I'm on my way with two boxes filled with food, I get lost in the mission. To bring a smile to someone's face. To chat with someone who maybe hasn't spoken to anyone in awhile. Just to allow someone time to relax and not have to prepare a meal. It makes me feel good. And suddenly, an hour passes by and I realize I have not thought about myself!

Imagine being selfless 24 hours a day.... Is that even doable? For some people it might be. And you have to wonder: Were they born with that gift, or do they work hard every single day to put others ahead of themselves? If I concentrated more on not thinking about myself and instead searched for ways to help someone else, would this eventually become a natural reaction?

Maybe I'll take it an hour at a time. First, Meals on Wheels. Then maybe an hour a week where I play with the kids or prepare dinner and clean up without whining about how tired or stressed or overweight or overworked I am. Two hours a week of selflessness. Sounds simple enough, right?
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