Remembering how we be of service

© Jenn Shallvey

© Jenn Shallvey


Remember the stories.

Remember the way people lead lives and show you a way.

Remember how you see in others a mirror of what is or is not perfect in your own life.


It is too easy to forget, be swept away into the day to day life and all it’s distractions. We become consumed with our to do lists, busyness, getting to and from the next appointment. Our lives are consumed by what we need to get done, not who we need to be.

Then we see someone who is the opposite. Yes, consumed by being all they can be in every moment of every day of their whole life. Rare. Precious. Special.

Consumed becomes obsession. An obsession to live a life well lived. Not consciously so much. More a driving, inner desire and faith that living life as you is in itself a higher unstated purpose.

I experienced this remembering. As part of a funeral for a much beloved man whose life was about being of service. His choice of service was explicitly through spiritual vocation as one of many ministering to others.  He lived and breathed the work he did. His way was selfless yet also full of self expression.  He embodied service. Yes he served. He served others wide and far, families of many types, people of all ages and aboriginal communities fighting to sustain themselves.  His way was one way, the way he chose to express his faith. 

I do not share the details because to name or describe his ‘brand’ of spirituality will then weigh all down with the connotations and assumptions. Instead consider anyone you know who decides to take the path of service however they define spirituality. Imagine this person doing so from their heart and soul. No pursuit of authority or power. No ego investment nor need for attention. No judgement of others. Simply a choice of brand, a label from which to do the work within a community of others doing the same.

On the outside are symbols and rituals. Strip these away and there is an intention to make a difference through a particular way. His way was not my way. It does not mean however that I devalue his choice of service. Would you lower the service of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr or Mother Theresa simply because they chose paths that were not yours? Of course not.  These spiritual leaders are known. Their paths were their own making. And even with their own human challenges they happen to be ones that publicly changed the course of history along the way. 

Others follow similar spiritual paths of service without any recognition or political impact. They simply serve unconditionally through their faith. This service is what I acknowledge and honour. No matter your brand of spirituality, thank you for your service.