I was recently chatting with a friend who runs a house cleaning service. As she was describing her hectic schedule and tiring days, she stated that hers is a thankless job. I reacted, “No, it’s not! When a person comes home to a clean home, it’s such a great feeling.” She could understand that but from her perspective, she was just feeling the isolation of working alone and not being there to see the appreciation, if it is true people even notice.
Her comments gave me pause. So many “jobs” we do could be considered “thankless”. Each day the tasks are numerous just for daily living, and when we live in community or even in our family settings, so many “jobs” are done with little time or thought to receiving thanks – dads cooking, moms driving, sisters raking leaves, brothers helping with homework, friends giving a ride, neighbors working together for a community need. In actuality, most of our daily lives involve doing, and serving, in some capacity. Sometimes this is through our jobs – answering questions, producing something, answering phones. Doing for others is part of being a member of society, whether for pay or not.
In a unicorn . . . rainbow world, we each would be so God centered and at peace with our daily tasks that nothing more would be needed. Yet, in fact, each of us even with inspiring jobs and creative activities, still light up if anyone notices. We don’t have to live in expectation to enjoy the activity, yet when a simple “thank you” is received, especially since it is not routinely given, our hearts are lifted. We smile.
Have you noticed that just the act of smiling changes the mood of those with whom we share those upturned edges of our lips? Brightening the world in which we live with showing our love for our brothers and sisters changes the space in our surroundings, and the hearts of those with whom we interact. How much moreso would hearts feel joyful if appreciation for serving others were actually shown with words of kindness.
Living with a sense of expectation of appreciation does not create happiness. It can only set the doer up for a life of disappointment since at least for most, showing thanks and appreciation is an area needing improvement. Serving others with a heart of wanting to give, and being pleasantly surprised if the work is noticed or appreciated, can make a “thank you” merely icing on the cake for a person whose heart loves others so much so that he or she wants to serve them, wants to do for them, wants to make them smile. For those being blessed by another’s words or actions that ease our load, our expressing thanks or sharing a smile of appreciation can brighten the day of the one who serves who perhaps has not yet understood the beautiful gift we each have to bestow bountifully – the gift of being able to serve others. The doer of the “thankless job” performs the most important job of all, that of sharing His love with others.
The heart of a true servant works to ease the burdens of another. As the recipient’s heart is lightened, as the warmth of appreciation is understood even if not always expressed, the circle of love becomes complete, for the servant, whether knowingly or not, has experienced His love in the doing.
May I awake with You in my heart,
And so love Your creations
That I serve them selflessly,
So that I may move ever closer to You,
To have You in my heart.
Teach me to give without expectation,
For only when I do so
Can I fully love,
And know Your Love.