On my personal blog, I wrote a bit about how I’ll be giving back professionally for the next 20 years. As one might be expect, there’s also some religious reasoning for the giving back.
I’m a Christian and thus believe in Jesus Christ. As I’m sure you know, that means that I believe he was born and sacrificed his life for humanity. Everyone is familiar with that sacrifice, but really what I love about Jesus was his life more so than death. He just sounds like the best person you could ask to be around. He was constantly giving service to those that needed it: healing the very sick, consoling the mourning, defending those that had no one to defend them and loving those that were practically abandoned.
As a teenager, I once gave away all my worldly possessions (my collection of popular music cassettes) to my friends. I was very poor and so it took a lot of time to amass that collection. When I passed out these to my friends, it wasn’t clear that I was ever going to get the collection back. It didn’t matter to me though. I loved my friends and wanted them to know they meant a lot to me…even more than the few meager material items I had.
I’ve always been good at loving people and trying hard to find the good in them. I find it hard to believe that we were put here to be evil and cruel to one another. The clearest way to show someone you love them is to serve them. I learned this early in life and it’s stuck with me ever since.
As a member of the LDS faith, service work for others is just standard operating procedure. Most service work, however, tends to be for those within our family or within our geographical ward/congregation/neighborhood boundaries. The exceptions are the general authorities of the church that operate at a global/regional level. While servicing our neighbors is very fulfilling and enlightening, it seems like we’re missing something by merely servicing those near us physically. With technology and travel options, it seems silly to limit our physical area of service work.
With that, I have challenged myself to try to make a difference in people’s lives in places nowhere near home: helping folks learn to better themselves in Silicon Valley, helping folks better represent themselves in court in Louisiana and Mississippi, and lastly trying to start a cultural revolution in Hong Kong.
Is any of this going to be easy? No, of course not, but with the work will come new found strengths and talents. Those things will make it easier. I have my faith and the knowledge that I can call upon my Heavenly Father to help me when the going gets tough.
Will I succeed? I do not know. The Lord has a plan and I’m just a tool in his hand. Should he decide to use me merely to lay the groundwork on these efforts, that is fine. I will cherish every moment I have in participating in these activities. I will take the fall from badly perceived plans, so that someone else may see my mistakes and build upon them.
We will all die someday, including myself. I just want to make a difference in people’s lives before I pass. Even if just 3 people benefit (1 from each of my 3 major projects), I will die happy knowing that I did my best and that someone who needed help was served.