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The Pleasure of Serving

--by Gabriela Mistral (Aug 03, 2015)


All of nature is a yearning for service:
The cloud serves, and the wind, and the furrow.

Where there is a tree to plant, you be the one.
Where there is a mistake to undo, let it be you.

You be the one to remove the rock from the field,
The hate from human hearts,
And the difficulties from the problem.

There is joy in being wise and just,
But above all there is the beautiful,
The immense happiness of serving.

How sad the world would be if all was already done.
If there was no rosebush to plant,
No enterprise to undertake.

Do not limit yourself to easy tasks.
It's so beautiful to do what others dodge.

But don't fall prey to the error that only
Great tasks done can be counted as accomplishments.
There are small acts of service that are good ones:
Decoratively setting a table,
Putting some books in order,
Combing a little girl's hair.
That one over there is the one that criticizes,
This other one is the one that destroys.
You be the one that serves.

Serving is not a labor just for inferior beings.
God, who gives fruit and light, serves.
His name could be rendered thus: He Who Serves.

And he has his eyes on our hands,
And he asks us at the close of day:
"Did you render service today? To whom?
To a tree, to your friend, to your mother?"


--Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela Mistral received the 1945 Nobel Prize for Literature. This poem is from the collection Tala recited on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of José Martí’s birth, in January 1953.

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11 Previous Reflections:

 
On Oct 30, 2017 Thomas wrote:

 Great poetry!



On Aug 26, 2016 Alison wrote:

 
For me this poem is what life is all about.  It's what we came here to learn. To give of ourself  from the heart with no expectation of receiving something in return is a God like quality.  And most importantly it makes for a most  fulfilling life. 



On Nov 23, 2015 Jack wrote:
 I just loved this poem back when i was in university. Really appreciate you for sharing this.

On Oct 28, 2015 Vijay shah wrote:

 The pleasure of serving is really give peace to mind and person get sound sleep at night. In next morning he gathers energy for doing best for serving.



On Sep 29, 2015 http://awriter.org/ wrote:

 Bonjour et merci pour votre contribution,, puis-je vous soumettre une question : me permettez-vous de faire un lien par mail vers cet article ? Merci pour tout.



On Aug 6, 2015 me wrote:

 This past evening, I had the privilege of serving two people who have frequently served me throughout my 54 years.   (My sister Vicki and my mother in law, Mom Boom)
What goes around . . . Comes around!  
My mother in law's most asked question,  "what can I do for you?"  
My sister Vicki, has "invisible wings"!
Yes . . . Joy comes in serving!



On Aug 6, 2015 Brinda wrote:

 Compassion + presence makes our actions into service and endless opportunities to serve present themselves to us when our mindset is one that sees all our fellow beings/creatures/nature as our own family.
Thanks David for the reminder of the Tagore quote--have always loved it!! :-)



On Aug 4, 2015 John Atkinson wrote:

WEll, the other day I did a meditation with a few others in N. Scotland and the leader said our aim is to be   in service for peace. At 68 this was the first time I had understood the meaning of the word , despite having sung in "Services" in Cathedrals for much of my life! Anyway maybe I did some good, despite thinking-oh here we go again- yet another daily service and I'm not really always in the mood!



On Aug 4, 2015 Sidney DeKoven wrote:

It is difficult for me to serve and at the same time I can see the enormous benefit of it if I can do it. The obvious benefit is to those we serve but there is an even greater benefit for our true selves. For service diminishes self- will and takes one out of one's false sense of "me" to put it in one way. Small services are my best chance right now. Helping someone across the street, even smiling at a baby can give one an idea of the benefits of service. Ghandi's life was a life totally dedicated to service.   Although he is sometimes not depicted as such, he was probably one of the most joyful beings ever to have lived.



On Aug 2, 2015 david doane wrote:

 A favorite quote of mine is Tagore's "I slept and dreamed that life is joy.  I awoke and saw that life is service.  I took action and behold service is joy."  Serving is certainly not a labor just for inferior beings.  All beings are to be of service.  Every being, animate and inanimate, is by nature of service.  Some service is deliberate.  We can be of service by choice and we can stop being of service or be of little service.  It's our choice.  It's my choice.  There are acts of service that I've done, most of which seem small.  I am also aware there are large acts of service that I have dodged, not wanting to take the time or put out the effort.  As an experiment, we can do more acts of service and experience how that is for us.  If it is a positive experience, we can practice more acts of service which will develop us into persons of service.  I have felt joy in being of service.  Tagore is right.&nb  See full.

 A favorite quote of mine is Tagore's "I slept and dreamed that life is joy.  I awoke and saw that life is service.  I took action and behold service is joy."  Serving is certainly not a labor just for inferior beings.  All beings are to be of service.  Every being, animate and inanimate, is by nature of service.  Some service is deliberate.  We can be of service by choice and we can stop being of service or be of little service.  It's our choice.  It's my choice.  There are acts of service that I've done, most of which seem small.  I am also aware there are large acts of service that I have dodged, not wanting to take the time or put out the effort.  As an experiment, we can do more acts of service and experience how that is for us.  If it is a positive experience, we can practice more acts of service which will develop us into persons of service.  I have felt joy in being of service.  Tagore is right.  I'm remembering someone's statement that I can't do everything but I can do something.  The something of service that I am and be and do is important for me and for others.

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On Jul 30, 2015 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 This beautiful poem deeply resonates deeply with me in my heart.I wonder who has not been touched by the tender and gentle touch serving joyfully. I see the signatures of many, both natural and human, extending their helping and nurturing hands right from my childhood until my old age. The world will not be able to survive and flourish if there were no serving hands. Some have served the whole mankind leaving their foot prints behind on the sands of time.They  left their names behind with no conscious intention of leaving their  name and fame behind.They served because that was in their nature. It was their breath. And there are many who do small acts of kindness joyfully. We have a vegetable and fruit garden on our front and back yard. Nature's hand is bountiful. She serves us by the gifts she gives us the gifts of fruits and vegetables. We express our gratitude for the gifts we receive from her. We serve her by doing whatever we can, watering the seeds and plants and  See full.

 This beautiful poem deeply resonates deeply with me in my heart.I wonder who has not been touched by the tender and gentle touch serving joyfully. I see the signatures of many, both natural and human, extending their helping and nurturing hands right from my childhood until my old age. The world will not be able to survive and flourish if there were no serving hands.

Some have served the whole mankind leaving their foot prints behind on the sands of time.They  left their names behind with no conscious intention of leaving their  name and fame behind.They served because that was in their nature. It was their breath.

And there are many who do small acts of kindness joyfully. We have a vegetable and fruit garden on our front and back yard. Nature's hand is bountiful. She serves us by the gifts she gives us the gifts of fruits and vegetables. We express our gratitude for the gifts we receive from her. We serve her by doing whatever we can, watering the seeds and plants and providing organic soil. We give our friends vegetables and fruits and enjoy sharing our gifts with them. I remember Mahatma Gandhi had named the community where he lived Seva Ashram- a community who serves, a community of servants. That work is being carried on in the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, my home town. When I visited  Gandhi Ashram last summer with my young grandson, I was deeply touched by the service the Ashramites do for slum children It was quite an experience for us. serving people is God's work. In our language we have a saying: Seva paramo Dharmaha- serving others is the spiritual way of living.

May we serve all beings with our heart and be grateful for serving them.

Jagdish P Dave

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