Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Struggling With Serving

As we are interviewing for a position at my company, I find that I am confronting more and more the nature of my job - and my life.

When we interview these candidates, I try to drive home the fact that this is a  position in which the sum total of our job is to make everyone else's job possible, whether it be by providing a working facility or ordering and delivering materials in a timely manner or making sure the IT systems work or ensuring we meet the regulations and requirements or the thousand and one things it takes people to do their job.  I do this not in an attempt to discourage folks but rather to give them a realistic assessment what the job entails.  Ultimately the glamor and glory lies somewhere else; we make sure that others can make that happen.

I worry as we have gone through the process that I might be overselling this point, but am reminded throughout the day as I try to manage through the requests and seemingly small things that will not get done if I do not do them that I probably am not. To succeed at this, the ideal candidate will have to be okay with the concept that they are effectively a servant.

And then it hit me: that is pretty much what my life is turning out to be.

The odd part to me is that I can encompass - I think - the concept that this what the rest of my career may very well turn out to look like.  What I am having trouble encompassing is that my personal life may well turn out to be the same.

To serve and serve well is to be invisible.  The best sorts of servants are the ones that anticipate the needs that are coming such that one finds the situation resolved before one even realizes it.  It is the glass of water in your hand before you are thirsty, the reference that you have before you need it.

The great challenge for the servant is to accept that they will most likely remain invisible.

This is hard for me.  It would probably be a challenge at any time in history but in this age of "The World Revolves Around Me" it is even more difficult.  When practiced best, it is the conscious admission that the world is not really about one - and that one is simply content to dwell in the shadows, making sure the work goes on.

I wish I was better at this. I still struggle - monstrously so, it seems - with the concept of quietly working and fading into the scenery so that others can succeed, at home and at work.   In a way it really feels like dying, this surrendering of the need to be recognized and noticed and have everything be about serving  yourself instead of serving and enabling others.

The only consolation I seem to have at times is a calm quiet that fills my soul periodically, the internal stillness of life which has (in small doses) given up on making everything about me and making it more about something or someone else.  The sense does not come to frequently but when it does, one almost wants to revel in it, to shut out the world and the noise and simply, quietly be.

The role of the servant is quiet and unrecognized.  But perhaps in that quiet and unrecognition comes the very thing which we were seeking in the beginning.

2 comments:

Rev. Paul said...

Mark 10:45 says, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” I resolve every day that if He could do it, then I certainly can. It's what that OTHER Paul meant when he said he crucified his flesh daily. We all struggle with the concept; you're not alone.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Reverend, I thought of that very verse when I was writing the post and even thought so far as to note how pitiful my struggles were against Christ's or indeed so many others that I know. Perhaps strangely enough, it did not offer me a lot of comfort in my despair marathon. Every time I brought it up the response in my head was "Well yes, but - but them, the way they act, the fact that no-one is looking out for me, etc." I obviously have more work to do.