Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/15/2017

Service without Expectation

This morning I woke up, ad usual, before the rest of my family and was ready to be out the door by 7am. But, as I was readying myself to leave I recalled that my wife had wanted to take my son to surf camp which meant she needed to get up at seven. So, not wanting to awaken the baby I sent her a text and, shortly thereafter, she replied that she did need to get up.

I woke the kids, got them breakfast, got them ready and changed the baby. Somewhere in here I found out that I had forgotten my wife had a dentist appointment so I would need to be home early for that. I checked to see if there was anything last minute that needed to be done and left. Unfortunately, she wasn't happy with that and made it be known.

So here it is: we live in an imperfect world and unfortunately my duties aren't solely to my wife. I have job as well and need to make sure I'm fulfilling those obligations to earn my salary. Then there are the kids too.

For some reason, I often operate under the mistaken and half-conscious assumption that service and charity should also mean lack of conflict. Clearly, however, when one is burdened by duties on multiple fronts it's always a balancing act. I wish I could devote myself solely to meeting the needs of my kids or my wife but that's just not the world we live in.

The alternative: to serve with kindness and accept blame in silence knowing that the expression of displeasure is a symptom of a deeper suffering. And, lest I forget, I should be truly taking joy in the good kamma I'm making and then dedicating the merit to all suffering beings. In this way, even when I'm faulted for not doing enough I can keep my heart from going sour and stop myself from repaving the road to hell and perdition.


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