Others are everything. Others are those I have the privilege of caring for and being their mentor and
teacher. Others are those I have yet to meet and those that can hurt me. Loving and living with others
requires risk. Risk of losing them and being vulnerable before them.
Others are the face of God to me, and I can honor God directly by serving them. Others are the
living beings I am called to love, pray
for, and wash their feet – without any
As I see others, God sees me. As I
judge God, the rules and grievances
against them are the ones God uses
toward me. This is what Meister
Eckhardt meant by his aphorism. It is
also what Jesus taught and implicit in the
commandments. Additionally, it
is fundamental to Benedictine life and a
life of service.
Despite the innumerable times that people fall short in our estimation, they do often not because they
have failed us; rather, we believe they failed our expectations. This causes suffering and is not what our
story as humans should be.
The story of service is one of love. I have never thought of service as a story, but I appreciate how
language unveils the heart’s intentions toward others. Words are the primal revelation of our deepest
sentiments (and sentimentalities).
Language is a heuristic – in this case, we can approximate others to solicit what they need, feel, endure,
want, aspire to, and dream. But we will never know the entire “truth” of anyone else’s story in the fullest
sense. Service, like language, allows for intimacy, empathy, altruism, and putting the last – first.
Ultimately, true service is done in silence without expecting to know the story. Language cannot reveal
the precise nature of the feelings each subjectively endures and experiences. When we tell a friend
noticing our story isn’t making the same impact on them as the actual event did to us, “you needed to be
there…”, the truth extends far beyond – in silence.
Don’t let your right hand know what your left hand does. Truth is in silence. We serve because, in
silence, we see God Be, Do, and Is. So may we aspire to be, do, and live into the same.
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