What Next?

Car on Highway
What Next?

Service is Joy

“What next?” These words escaped from Sandra Wilson on her drive back from the University of Wisconsin. Suddenly overcome by sadness and heaviness of heart, she parked on the side of the road to regain her composure.

Her last child, Nathan, is now off to college and although she had been preparing for this day for months, it only now became a reality. “What next?” Since her divorce a decade earlier, all she did revolved around her three children. She loved them and was happy at their progress into adulthood but she also felt an overwhelming feeling of abandonment, a loneliness that ate her up. As she watched the cars zoom by with tears dripping slowly down her face, she entertained the thought of joining her beloved mother in the afterlife. “What next, what do I have to look forward to?” It was not that long ago she graduated from college with great hopes of a future with a loving family and a fulfilling career. All that is behind her now. How quickly the years go by, she mused.

Suddenly, her day dreaming was interrupted by an old green Isuzu pick-up truck which barely made it off the road and was parked just ahead of her. Something was obviously wrong so she wiped away her tears and proceeded to find out if the stranded gentleman needed any help. His truck had run out of gas and he was extremely grateful to Ms. Wilson for her help in driving him to a gas station to procure gas and bringing him back to his vehicle.

Her service to the stranger erased her previous anxiety of living alone without her children. She had found the answer to her question, “What next?” Daily, every single human being is given the opportunity to find true joy through service. This simple realization was helpful to Ms. Wilson because it was the absence of joy which she feared with Nathan’s departure and she now knows that joy is ever-present through genuine service.

Every charm of life passes, only love remains because it is the very essence of life. Where love is absent there is no life, just mere existence. Where love is present, however, there is also service and thus joy.

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” 

~Rabindranath Tagore

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