A friend shared this on Facebook today and it’s kind of what I needed. I always ask my students at the beginning of each semester to do a “3 things exercise”.
They write 3 things they are proud of.
They write their 3 biggest accomplishments.
They write 3 rocks in their backpack (the baggage they bring to class with them, things that might prevent them from being successful in my course).
I learn a lot about each of my students with this activity. More than anything though, I’m reminded that we all have things we’ve been blessed with, things we’re proud of and we all have rocks. Some of us have bigger rocks than others, some hide their rocks and some throw them. And some make the choice to leave their rocks behind, to set them on the side of the road and walk away, to not let their rocks weigh them down.
We have choices to make each day. We all have our rocks. We can choose to make someone’s load heavier by giving them our rocks. We do it by unloading our stresses on them, by not listening to those around us or by complaining. We do it by not being accountable for our actions and not being responsible.
We also have the opportunity to help lift the load for someone else. We can smile at them, give an encouraging word, be flexible with them. Even more…we can choose to serve them. It’s out of character for us to serve others. It’s counter-intuitive for most. But serving others can go a long way in helping them on their walk in life. It doesn’t have to be some big fancy “watch me while I serve you” kind of act. People can tell when you’re not being authentic. But it’s the little things. For example, this last week I was wheeling my cart down the hallway (I have this big cart on wheels with all my books, markers and “stuff” for class on it). I had to park it about halfway to the classroom, wade through the students lined up waiting and unlock the classroom door. One of my students pushed my cart into the classroom for me. It wasn’t a huge deal, it wasn’t a big production, but it was an act of service that impacted me. In our society it’s those little acts of service that are often missed. We’re too busy checking Facebook or texting to hold the door open for the person behind us.
I have learned that serving others…helping them carry their rocks, helps us lighten our backpack. We are called to serve others. Galations 5:13-15 says “13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.”
So…who’s load can you make lighter today? Are you willing to set your rocks down and help someone else carry theirs?