Over the past year I have painted six murals around Soldotna. I began the exciting project through Soldotna High School’s art club and then continued it independently. I found that I loved using my painting talent to serve and it made me feel good to share something I was passionate about with the whole community. Though I improved my painting skills, the greatest lesson I took away from the experience is that the best kind of service lies in serving with your talents.
Each of us has unique talents. The first step to serving in this thoughtful way is discovering and developing those skills and attributes. Marianne Williamson said, “Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.”
A classmate and friend of mine, Alex Weeks, applied this principle when searching for volunteer opportunities this year. Gifted with a talent to play the violin and a compassionate heart, Alex found the opportunity to play her instrument on Sundays for a group of senior citizens at Riverside Assisted Living. The service touched her heart and theirs because she shared her precious gift.
If I had tried to play a violin to an audience, I’m sure I would have sounded like a squeaky chair. Not everyone has the same talent, but we all have something. My sister Chloe thought for a long time about what kind of talent of hers she could share. She has always had a passion for reading and has recently discovered how to serve with it. She began a program called “Hooked on Books” at Redoubt Elementary in which she reads the first chapter of a book to a classroom to spread the love of reading and help the students discover new books.
Everyone has talents they were born with, and those they have worked to develop. Though not born with incredible musical ability, I have worked for years at both playing the piano and singing and now can do both well enough that I can serve with them. I have played the piano as an accompanist to my church congregation and sung the national anthem at sports events. If you do not possess a skill and would like to serve with it, you can develop it through hard work.
The benefits of service are immeasurable. Not only are there proven physical and psychological health benefits associated, but the impact you make lasts much longer than the hours you spend serving. Serving with your talents is the best way to serve because it comes from the heart. Your passion will shine through and it will edify both those you are serving and yourself. Use your unique gifts to bless the lives of those around you and you will find a life of purpose as your lose it in the service of others.
To post or find local service activities and projects, visit justserve.org
Claire Kincaid is a senior at Soldotna High School.