मैनु सेवा कारन तो नहीं रोक्या जावेगा

मैनु सेवा कारन तो नहीं रोक्या जावेगा

While the literal translation of this Hindi is “Will not be stopped due to menu service” I think the intended meaning is closer to “I will not be stopped from serving.”

I will not be stopped from serving. 

Those words hit me hard as I read them, especially given the context in which they were shared. They were spoken by an Auntie who was cooking a meal in a Sikh gurdwara on South Howell Avenue in Oak Creek, Wisconsin on Aug 5, 2012. It was a typical busy morning in preparation for the langar when white supremacist Wade Micheal Page walked into the busy and lively Sikh temple armed with a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun. In less than 10 minutes Page had killed six people, injured many more and took his own life. It was the most violent hate crime against a Sikh community in US history and at the time, was the worst attack on any faith community in the US since the 1963 Birmingham church bombing

I will not be stopped from serving. 

This was Auntie’s response when asked why she left her place of hiding during those horrific 10 minutes to turn off the burners in the kitchen because she could tell something was burning. 

Auntie was not going to be stopped from serving. 

On my journey to better understand what service means, I often reference and am referred to the Sikh faith and how it embraces service as a core value and action. This story from Wisconsin came from See No Stranger by Valarie Kaur who is an incredible leader and leans into her Sikh faith as a lawyer, civil rights activist, author and speaker. I have written this before: you must read her book. My good friend Lakhdeep Singh was good enough to share his personal thoughts and observations about the connection between his Sikh faith and service on one of our FSW Forums last year. You can watch it here. Lakhdeep is a beautiful man, inside and out. 

My big takeaway from revisiting Lakhdeep’s wisdom and learning from Kaur’s book is that serving matters. To us. To our wellness. To our identity. 

I will not be stopped from serving. 

As proof that she moves in mysterious ways, I am getting multiple pokes and reminders on this very topic this week and will have more to share on this soon. For now, let’s remember that when we talk about service it can’t just be from a lens of what I am doing for others. It has to include how I am opening myself up to learning, embracing an experience that is not about me and how I am being gifted with a satisfaction that is longer lasting and more meaningful than public recognition ever will be.

What won’t stop you from serving this week? 

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