I believe that service is absolutely key to lifelong happiness and balance. My life, as I am sure is true for almost anyone, has been a rollercoaster full of heartbreaks, shortcomings, frantic deadlines and an endless To Do list. It has sometimes been hard to see past my own difficulties and look for opportunities to help others. But as I have gone through high school and pursued a career at BYU, service has become a constant source of balance and happiness in my life.
Service adds meaning and depth to my daily activities. One of the largest realizations I have come to at BYU is that even with a full schedule, life can feel completely empty. I can go to work, attend classes, finish homework then come home to hang out with friends without feeling like I have done anything of significant value. It is almost like running on a treadmill with roller-skates. Life is never going to stop presenting pertinent projects to finish but activity alone does not necessarily afford achievement. I slowly realized that education without service breeds an atmosphere that is tedious and void of meaning.
It wasn’t until I began to serve with Hospice and Independence High School that the chaos of my daily schedule really began to mean something to me. My experience with Y-Serve reaffirmed my desire to use my education to serve those around me and to pursue a career of lifelong service. It’s not something that I can easily put into words (words are not my strong suit anyways), but service helped me feel like I was participating in something larger than myself. My studies weren’t as monotonous because I understood that they were a gateway to a higher purpose. Hanging out with friends became more enjoyable because I wasn’t so stressed about school. As I serve with sincerity and purpose I notice that my life is better adjusted and I better understand my potential.
In addition to feel more balanced, service helps with my overall happiness. I am honestly convinced that a smile is contagious. Helping somebody else smile through hardship and seeing them happy will always make me smile too. As we look past our own hardships to lift those around us I know that there are also hands supporting us in our challenges. Life feels brighter and more enjoyable because you know that what you are doing is good.
As I have participated in Y-Serve and other service activities, I have realized that service is more of a lifestyle than an activity. Consistent and sincere service has become a fundamental part of my life and I hope that I can help others realize the rewards of service by encouraging my friends to get involved with regular service opportunities.