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Pagan Service

By Nimue Brown

Service, that fine Druid (and others) practice of turning up and giving your best because it’s needed. Service to Gods, land and tribe, not for any personal gain, but because it is the right thing to do. It has to be open hearted and unconditional, or it isn’t service. I’ve been lying awake this morning poking this as an issue, because it so often goes badly for me. I’ll willingly show up to whatever needs doing, pour heart and soul, everything I have into doing the best job I can, and at the end am left bruised, exhausted, and quite often feeling that it wasn’t enough, or that it was somehow an imposition. People who will ask for everything I’m capable of and more, and then belittle, shame and/or push me away for having given that. Doing it freely is one thing, doing it and then being wounded for doing it, is another.

Service needs a context to exist, and that context is all about honourable relationship. It’s all too easy, when someone gives freely, to take that for granted. Much of mainstream culture encourages aggressive, acquisitive, competitive thinking. When that is the norm, the person who gives freely is easily branded as weak, foolish, and fair game for exploitation. If you can get something for nothing out of a person, that makes you clever, by regular standards and it will make you more successful while the person who gives won’t get ahead.

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