The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others – Gandhi
For those who feel the pull to service; it’s a deeply personal thing. The motivations, I’m sure, differ from person to person – but we all have them, and the meaning behind it runs deep. While I can truthfully say I’ve lost my concept of self while in service, it is very much a place where I find myself.
Pressed into service means pressed out of shape – Robert Frost
What’s popped into my mind tonight, on a random Sunday at 2:13am, is how we can serve when we don’t want to.
I first experienced this a few years ago while serving at a private house party. There were some guests in attendance who I did not hold a high amount of respect for. Our philosophies on life and kink didn’t mesh well and I was struggling. How could I bend a knee to someone I didn’t respect? I expressed my concerns to another member of the service staff, hoping that they, having more experience than I, would have some words of wisdom. He did:
Heather, he said. This isn’t about you right now. You’re here to serve the house, and while you may not have respect for everyone out there, they are guests in the house that we serve. If you respect the house, you will serve the house, and the guests who share it tonight.
As I start to explore bootblacking more I’ve found myself running into the same question again. How would I feel if someone got into my chair who I don’t respect? Would I feel objectified? Would I feel I’ve compromised my personal integrity? Would I even be able to do their boots? Then, a few weeks ago at TEASE I had the pleasure of meeting a man who offered a new perspective. Serve the boots he said.
Serve the boots.
I’ve been pondering this since that night. How does one serve an inanimate object?
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
To serve the boots is to serve the tradition I respect. To serve the boots is to serve the honour and integrity that I do hold in high regard. To serve the boots is to do myself proud by always bringing the best I have within me at any time to whatever situation I encounter. So that at the end of the day I can continue to be proud of the person I see in the mirror.
If this is something you’ve struggled with – past or present, I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts. Please share so that I may learn from you as well?