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A BEAR WITH THE HEART OF A SERVANT

One of my personal goals is to be a better servant. To be a better giver than taker. Service is so rewarding and I usually come out feeling as though I was the one who really gained something. There are so many opportunities at work, home and in the community to give with a servant’s heart. Give your time, give a better attitude, give financially.

“The only really happy people are those who have learned how to serve.”
— Albert Schweitzer

I have thought a lot about becoming a better servant over the past year and have found that serving works best (and stays consistent) when you’re serving something or someone close to your heart. Something or someone that you really care about. Serving just to serve will probably not last long, other commitments will get in the way, and before you know it, you’re no longer serving. I’ve volunteered for things that didn’t mean much to me personally and the same thing happened…I thought ‘why did I agree to wake up early on a Saturday for this?’ If the service is in your heart, it will be something you actually look forward to doing...it’s the highlight of your week.

I have found an act of service that is so close to my heart that I could explode just thinking about it. I molded two of my favorite things into one service act! Dogs and kids!

Church E. Bear (see: big hearted dog) has been volunteering with the local Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) program. He is using his love bug skills as a therapy dog to brighten days throughout community. Church has been paired with two 2nd grade boys that need a little extra help with their reading. Reading in front of your entire class can be intimidating (even as a fully functioning adult).  We take each student one at a time for a 30 minute private reading session where they read to Church, because he is so sweet and non-judgmental!

Each visit is so special to them and even more so to myself and Church (I think). Eli melts my heart every week with his sweet sentiments towards Church. He’s always petting his head and asking what Church would like to read about this week. He tells Church that he loves him and that he’s being such a good boy. He is worth every bit of our time. This week Eli told me that Church should dress up like Super Dog for Halloween. Apparently Super Dog is something Eli made up just for Church. He told us that Church would need a red cape and a red mask…so I guess I know what I’ll be working on this weekend! (Super Dog pics to come next week!)

Seen: Church and Eli having a moment in between books. Church likes to put his head on Eli's book and gets lots of love. .

Seen: Church and Eli having a moment in between books. Church likes to put his head on Eli's book and gets lots of love. .

I could go on and on about the great things Eli says and how rewarding it is to work with these students and build relationships with them. They will probably never remember me…but they will always remember Church. They will always remember that a giant dog came to pick them up from class every week. They’ll remember how their classmates begged to pet Church. They will remember the Church E. Bear bookmark we gave them. And hopefully they’ll remember that it helped their reading and their self-confidence.

We gave each of the boys a bookmark with this above photo of Church and his bio...

We gave each of the boys a bookmark with this above photo of Church and his bio...

Church is a one and a half year old Bernese Mountain Dog. This is his first year reading with PAWS, but he loves it already! He is a gentle giant and just learned to shake hands!

The point is…PAWS reading program is everything I believe in: Dogs. Kids. Reading. Self-confidence. How can you NOT have a servant’s heart towards the things you believe in the most?! It’s impossible. And that’s why serving in the area that YOU believe in, is critical to your life of service. Think about what you already love doing, and turn it into an act of service. There are people in need; you just have to figure out how your gifts will best serve them.

Church's heart is bigger than mine...it's bigger than yours too. But I strive to be a more unconditional lover and servant every day and he inspires me. The lack of negativity in his heart and soul leaves a lot of room for happiness, giving, and love. I want that servant heart freedom too.

Adrienne Dorison