This whole week I've been quite a crab. Seriously. Red face, pincers, little beady eyes, and all. It's not that I've been trying to be that way. In fact, I've worked very hard at trying to make sure I don't come across crabby to every person I meet. I've been trying to be more social and find it helped for the most part, but then I'd be alone and suddenly the crab would return, irritated even by the slightest annoyance.
So yesterday after working a full 8 hours (having covered someone else's shift as well as my own) and being hungry all day, when a friend from my Italy adventures asked if I could help her with a paper and she'd take me out to dinner in return, I snatched it up. Part of this was definitely selfish (or shellfish, I guess if you want to continue the analogy)-- I was definitely hungry, have little that's truly appetizing in my fridge and really... there's no better person than Jen to cheer you up when you're ready to just find a hole and hide in it for the next semester just to avoid the schedule that's about to be heaped upon you.
We laughed and had fun and after full belly, I was glad to come back to the school and start helping her with the editing and last minute things she needed to have put into the paper.
At a computer kitty corner from ours was a woman who was going back to school and told us she hadn't touched a computer in about 30 years. We helped get her set up with the document and she started typing, which she said was painfully slow after years out of practice.
Jen and I worked and worked on her paper until (yay!) it was complete. She planned to stay to add a last few citations and I grabbed my bag to go home and crash for the night.
Then I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the woman we'd helped earlier had everything handwritten already. She was having to type with just her index finger, trying to make it go as fast as she could and I had an idea. "How about I type for you?" I asked her.
She seemed amazed. She told me she was about to cry (a feeling I remember well at the greater generosity of some donors that allowed me to go to Italy). I sat there and typed for the next hour as we got through two of her assignments then I helped her submit them.
Was I tired by the end? Exhausted. But it was worth it. Even this morning I feel happier and brighter. Finding a simple opportunity to serve in that way has practically vanished all the selfish, bitter, mean feelings I've harbored all week that have been weighing me down. In a little way and with little effort and time I was able to help her, but I was also able to remind myself how to get out of these funks--by service.
It's a tried and true method and I hope that next time I remember it sooner! That way I won't have people ready to throw me into a pot of boiling water!