Author: Alora Sionn
At the end of November, inspired by this year’s Feast of Lights, I decided to try to do at least one good deed, one act of service every day for the whole month of December.
When I started on December 1st, I was kind of nervous. What counts as service? What can I do with my time and resources? I was also a bit intimidated by stories of others and their amazing acts of service. To me, some of the things I thought of to do didn’t really seem like much of a big deal. Not only that, but I felt awkward about talking about it on a public forum. I was always taught that bragging about things you do for people kind of voided the actual good you did in a way, so even as I write this I feel a bit awkward! But the idea that maybe it will cheer up and/or inspire someone else motivates me to do it, so here goes!
The first week for me was one of adjustment. I started with something that seemed pretty awesome to me, giving a $20 tip on a Pho bill of $27; a close to 100% tip that I’m sure isn’t the norm, judging by the amazed look they gave me when I was leaving. Seeing how happy it made them took away some of the nervousness!
The rest of that week Lok and I made cookies for the local fire dept, and gave them a card thanking them for all they do, brought cookies to work for my coworkers, gave my dad a gift and cleaned his living room for him, gave a gift to a stressed out coworker, bought lunch for my dad, and made a signature for someone new at TarValon.Net.
By the end of the first week I was feeling like all this little stuff wasn’t big enough. I didn’t feel like it mattered enough. So the second week I started out by sending a Christmas card to a little girl I saw on the news who had lost her whole family in a fire a couple years ago. I donated $5 to St Jude’s Childrens Hospital and a toy to Toys for Tots. I was out running for my fitness test for school and saw so much litter on my street that I came back out with a trash bag to pick it all up. Getting pet food, I saw that they had a program to donate $5 to buy a stuffed animal for kids in hospital, so I jumped on it; and on Monday I stayed an extra shift at work so a coworker could spend his anniversary with his wife.
By this point I was really realizing that with each thing I did, no matter how small, I felt really excited and happy about doing it. I stopped caring whether or not it was “impressive” because, even if it didn’t seem like a big deal to me, it was to the person I was helping.
Rather than seeking out something to do, on some days the opportunity came to me instead. On my way home from work I got gas and saw an older lady whose car broke down. I let her borrow my phone to call her husband and offered her a ride home. She declined the ride but the next day texted me to say thank you. I also learned that when you do something nice for someone it has a chain reaction; the next day I was telling a coworker what happened and she said that the story totally lifted her mood!
What I thought was going to be hard (coming up with new things every day) was actually pretty easy—no matter where you are or what you’re doing, even if you are busy, there is an opportunity to make someone’s day. Whether it’s making a card for people you work with or interact with daily to show them you appreciate what they do, a kind word to someone you see struggling (like the poor guy at Target on Christmas Eve!), or standing up for someone being treated unfairly, anywhere you happen to be is loaded with opportunities.
Even if you are feeling low and don’t want to go anywhere, the opportunities are there. Playing an MMO? Give some gold to a random low level player or help someone out with a quest! Browsing craigslist? Write a kind post to boost the spirits of those spending the holidays alone. Reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in a while and make them smile. Even write an article to inspire others to see the opportunities for doing good in their own lives!
A lot of times we mistakenly think we don’t have time to do something extra to better the world. I know I did. But I’ve learned that something doesn’t need to look like a huge deal to the whole world as long as it makes one person’s world a little bit better.
When I started this, I didn’t know if any of the things I did were going to be “good” enough. I was worried about it not being “enough” in general, but as the days went by I saw that they really do make a difference, not just in the people you help but in yourself as well. When I was going out of my way to look for ways to help people, I felt like I was more deserving of kindness myself. In a way, helping people helped me, so I owe each and every one of those people a big thank you.
31 Days of Service has been a great experience, but I won’t stop now. While I may not document every day (like I did using #31DaysOfService) I can keep my eyes open for each opportunity and make the most of it in my daily life. I hope you feel inspired; the Feast of Lights is still going on, and it’s not too late to start participating!
Get out there and serve! :)
We hope you enjoyed this article by Guest Reporter Alora Sionn Sedai. To participate in the Feast of Lights, check out this thread. To learn more about being a Servant of All, check out the Servant of All forum at this link.