There are many opportunities each day for us to serve others. We have a choice of how we are going to share our gifts with people in order to make the world a better place. Service is a gift. We each need to find our gift, then give it way. In order for that to work, we need to let others share their gifts…which means we have to allow ourselves to be the recipient of their service. 

Today when I boarded my flight, I found my seat and prepared for the battle of the overhead bins. I am not a fan of checking my luggage if I can carry on…less chance of losing my belongings and allows for a more speedy arrival to my final destination. When I got to 26F, the man on the aisle asked me if he could help me with my bag…and as a modern woman I had a dilemma. I am a strong capable woman. I live by my family’s travel motto – if you can’t lift it, don’t bring it. So of course I could lift my own bag into the overhead bin. Of course I do not need help, I can do it myself. The moment he asked me the question, he was up and had my bag over his head before I could conjugate the verb statement of my response. Before I knew it my bag was stowed and ready for the flight. I stood there for a split second in silence, then thanked him. I then shuffled into my seat and settled in for the short flight. As I plugged in my headphones and listened to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, I pondered my reaction to what just happened. 

I wasn’t insulted, I truly was grateful. I did not think he overstepped his bounds, I thought he was kind. I did not feel minimized as a woman to let a man lift my bag, I was humbled that someone else went out of their way to make my day better. I realized in order for people to do their act of service, we need to allow over selves to be served. Which might mean we need to put down our self-sufficient exterior and open up to these random acts of kindness. If we only serve, then how do we learn to be served? If we always help others, then when do we learn to receive? Sometimes the harder side of the equation is not serving but being served. 

So as I relaxed and enjoyed the music, I was deeply grateful that I was humble enough to allow this stranger to exhibit his kindness in my direction. When the flight landed I put my iPad and headphones away…I looked up, and there was my bag in his seat waiting for me to disembark. He had gotten it down before I ever had to ask. I thanked him again and waited with everyone else to leave the plane. I realized that THANK YOU were the only words I said to him over the entire flight. His kindness had no other purpose than kindness…no ulterior motives, no introduction to incessant gabbing during the flight, no lead into some other goal…just kindness. It was truly an act of random kindness…and I was blessed. It was a great way to start my week long trip. 

Allow yourself to be served…give the gift of being a willing recipient. Let someone else make a difference in your world today, and do it graciously. It won’t minimize your abilities, in fact it will probably enhance them. It doesn’t make you less, it makes you more…more open, more humble, more kind. By allowing ourselves to be served, we allow others to serve. And wouldn’t everyday be better if the battle was over who could serve more? Let someone else practice their random act of kindness on you for no other reason than just kindness…it really is a great way to start a trip.