As my good friend Scaughdt always says, happiness in life is found by living three simple questions: 1. Who do I serve? 2. How do I serve?  and 3. Where do I serve? Now, is always the answer to “When do I serve?”.  There is however, one more elusive question. This question goes right to the heart of who you are, and why do you believe you are here on this planet. It is a question that once answered, is never asked again.  That question is “Why serve?”

If we cannot find a reason to help others…we simply are not looking. Empathy and compassion are the instantaneous moments when we realize…that can’t be. I must do something. Selfishness is making sure it doesn’t happen to me, selflessness is ensuring it doesn’t happen to others.

My mother hasn’t been immune to what I am doing. Rather, she is very much aware of what I am doing daily. She has watched, and she has begun to participate. She asked me the other day if she could help. She wanted to give $20 to someone asking for change on the street. She was surprised when I told her not to. I suggested finding a more real way to serve than just passing a bill out the car window. She did just that.

Recently, my mom read about Todd, the gentleman who adopted the dog. Her heart broke at the thought of the dog not having enough food, and the sweet man who cares for it. She knew that Todd was a good man and would give the dog the love and shelter he could…but she wanted to help. So, she gave me a bag of dog food for his puppy. “Anything helps. Dog food. People food.”

I saw Top-Heavy yesterday and he was sitting with a man named Daniel. Heavy introduced Daniel to me as his “Guardian Angel”. Daniel is doing what he can do to help the homeless people here as well. He doesn’t preach to them, but rather just hangs out and talks to them, and if they need or want help, he gives them just that. Daniel was looking at Top Heavy’s cast and said, “Dude, you need to get that checked out. That cast isn’t looking so good.” Heavy was resistant at first, but then relented. Daniel took him in his car to the hospital where they cut off the cast. In Heavy’s words, “Man, the nurse almost threw up when they took the cast off. It was so gross…I almost lost my leg.”

His leg had turned septic and was nearing turning gangrenous. They cleaned heavy up, gave him a walking cast that he could remove to bathe, and medication to fight the infection. Daniel picked up the bill.

`Eowyn and her partner used to own a food truck. They would drive up and down the West coast attending wine, beer, and music festivals selling fish tacos from the window of their vehicle. Life on the road gets old though, and they wanted to be able to be able to donate to the community more. By having a centralized location, they felt that they could really help foster a more grassroots symbiosis between the community and the food that they eat.

They bought a building, and opened a pizza by the slice restaurant. They live on a farm, and they only use fresh, local, and organic vegetables, flour, and meats in their pies. They only serve locally grown and produced wines, beer, and rootbeer. Their thought is that is in order to have peace in the world, you have to put food that is at peace in your body. That is why they named their restaurant “Whirled Pies”.

Truly, “Anything Helps”. Anything done in and with love helps the world to know what it looks like, feels like, and sometimes even tastes like. Peace isn’t some far off distant concept, it is a lady buying a $5 bag of dog food. It is someone taking a banged up homeless man to the doctors. It is a lady trying to feed people healthy food. It is a man adopting a dog and giving it all the love he can…even if that means begging on the side of the road for some dog food.

Sometimes I get discouraged. I feel as if I am not doing enough. I feel too selfish. I have so much and others have so little. Then I pull my head out, and begin looking at the wonderful people around me that are doing kind things, quiet things for their fellow human beings. I see the people that they help being grateful, and trying to give back because they get it.

Top Heavy was grateful for what I and Daniel have done for him. He asked me, do you have some paper and a pencil, I would like to draw something for you. He drew me this 1980’s heavy metal rocker guy with electric hair playing the guitar. He said, “Next time I will draw you the rest of the band.” He picked up his drum sticks and grabbed his bucket and started playing a jam for me as I ran away. Tears began to stream down my face as I thought about what he just gave me. He gave me everything he had. A drum lick and a drawing on borrowed paper. He has nothing, he nearly lost his leg on the street, can you imagine a drummer without a leg? And yet,  here he was grateful,  is grateful…so he tried to love on me in the few ways he could.

Yesterday, Heavy helped me remember my own way to peace. This is the way of the Peace Artist: It all begins with Gratitude- Love, Help, Make Art & Peace. Top Heavy was grateful, and he tried to show it by loving on me. Who am I not to do likewise?