My church is really service-oriented. Maybe you’ve heard of the LDS church (Mormons) responding to victims of natural disasters with humanitarian aid. All my life I’ve been involved in different kinds of service projects. It’s a huge chunk of the Mormon culture pie. As you can imagine, being goal-oriented, social, capable, and energetic is smiled upon within the church community. I feel like these high-spirited people are hugely important for civilization to exist, but let’s not forget the point of service: to serve others–often those who are less fortunate than yourself.

Some vaguely-related thoughts about high school: They train us from K-12 to be obedient, productive, and economically valuable citizens that are also, with a bit of luck, unique and creative. Social success in high school is an indicator of future citizen-drone potential. Oy vey. Clearly I’m already failing society’s expectations. I hid alone in the art room or the science room during most lunches my senior year. I know what it feels like to be left out, and sometimes to want to be left alone. I have been that freak sitting alone in the lunchroom. (I’m a nice person but maybe I’m an acquired taste or something.)

I’ve already talked about my suicidal thoughts during high school and the label of “clinically depressed” I still hang around my neck. What I’m trying to say is that sometimes all I’ve wanted in the whole world is for someone to say, “Hey, I care about you. Someday this is all gonna be a bad dream. C’mere.” I’ve never known any church, school, or community service project that can dish out sincere, personal hugs just when they’re needed.

If you want to feel like your life is worth living, help someone else feel that theirs is. Organized service is great, but never underestimate the power of quiet, subtle, unnoticed acts of love. I feel like it’s a personal thing, something we have to decide. Noticing those in need isn’t enough; we have to serve them, too. It won’t be celebrated, but that’s exactly why it should be.


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