How many different meanings of the word service can you name?
I’ve been thinking about that ever since Candace Salima asked me to blog a couple times a week on that subject. In ruminating about it, I’d mentally pronounce the word, let it hang, and see what came to mind. Here are a few things I came up with:
Service . . . station. I remember service stations when you really got service—or got annoyed. If no one came out promptly to pump your gas, or if he simply filled the tank and didn't wash the windows and check your oil and tires, it could blight your day. I may write one day about the transition to self-serve and what that means in the grand scheme of things.
Service . . . sector. It’s really wonderful what you can hire another person to do for you if you have the money and are so inclined. You can hire someone to do your taxes, cook your dinner in your own home, clean your house, walk your dog, or cut your toenails. I’m sure there are lots of things out there that people have hired done that are unusual or even jaw-droppingly off- the-wall. When I learn about them, you can bet I’ll share them here.
Service . . . project. I love a service project! It’s an efficient way to promote bonding while doing good at the same time. I’ve participated in some well done youth projects and have been the target of both well done projects and disasters. Maybe together we can share some ideas about how to organize an effective service project.
Service . . . entrance. I know about service entrances, as I had a small specialty wholesale bakery once, and was accustomed to using that particular door when I delivered my wares. I’d like to write about how exciting a concept a service entrance is and why I think so.
There are lots of other ways the word service has slipped into our language. We talk about a funeral service and about compassionate service, often speaking about two different things happening at the same place and time. When someone joins the army, we say they are going into the service. These are all solemn, weighty uses of the word, and I think each could bear considering.
I’d also like to explore the idea that some people have that in order to ‘count’, service to our fellow beings needs to be inconvenient. Can service be easy? Can it be effortless?
And I’d like to write about all the ways we can serve without really realizing we are doing so, like being a well-mannered member of an audience. Having just had an experience in a handbell concert where my neighbor was a talker, I have lots to say on that subject. However, I will save it for another day.
When I was a young woman, it was my goal to have service for twelve of a particular china pattern in my hope chest. I’d like to write about my perception of how the preparation for and expectation of marriage has changed over the years for young women. Service for twelve might not even be on the list, any more.
I think there will be no end of things to write about under the heading of service. If you’ve got something to suggest, I’d love to hear it.