In our last Highlights Podcast with Mama Toledo, Tonya generously shared a lot of her hard earned wisdom and lessons she’d learned from her life. It was an awesome experience, and I am constantly shocked by how willing people are to share their hearts, their lives, and their stories with strangers. When she talked about the loss of her mother, and her desire to possibly work with hospice services after it, I was struck by her love for serving others, but also by the way she ultimately realized that hospice was not how she could best serve.
I think this is a thing that happens to a lot of us, and we don’t always know how to handle it. We realize that we get a sense of fulfillment from serving others, but we don’t necessarily know how to do it. We think of all these big, grandiose ways to serve people, and we don’t necessarily do a good job of considering how to go about it in the most authentic, effective way we can. We sit at home, thinking about people like St. Theresa of Calcutta, trying to figure out how we can match her work. Mother Theresa, though, often turned away people who sought to work with her in India by reminding them that there were poor in need of service in their own cities.
Looking at Tonya’s experience, she found a way to combine her desire to help people with her obvious talent and passion for desserts. Sure, running her business might not be as visible a means of service as working in hospice care with the sick and their families in the midst of trying times, but it takes no time at all in a conversation with her to realize that she takes her opportunity to mentor and provide opportunities to those who work with her every bit as seriously.
Sometimes, blending our desire to serve with our “marketable skills” is easy to figure out. People working in medicine, public safety, the military, and (even acknowledging my own bias) teaching often reference those ideas of service and giving back as a key part of what they love about their work. It’s not always as easy for a desk worker, accountant, sales person, or any other number of jobs to identify workplace opportunities to serve, but the opportunities are their. To borrow again from St. Theresa of Calcutta, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”