The clocks tick. Deadlines loom. Emotions swirl. And yet, I wouldn't have it any other way. At times I sit back in my chair smiling and thinking how lucky I am to do the work I do. When I chat with my soulmate friends over a glass of wine on the front porch or new friends over a cup of coffee at a favorite coffee shop, I am always asked what it is I actually do. If I had to answer with one word, I would say "serve."
A few months ago, I took a risk and literally catapulted myself into the unknown. I quit my full-time, seemingly stable job to use my talents to serve others with my entire being because part time did not cut the mustard. No, I'm not digging wells in Africa (I wish I could) and I'm not solving the world hunger crisis (I wish I could snap my fingers and feed the world). I am simply using my gift of communication, my deep love for others, and my desire to encourage and give hope, to serve. I work with organizations and brands who not only value my talent and heart, but more importantly the talents and lives of men and women around the world. I couldn't be happier.
While I was in India with my best friend Carly Burson and my new best friends Erin Loechner and Michael Newsted, I was reminded of what it is to truly serve with purpose. We were not in India to draw attention to ourselves; we were there to draw attention to our artisan partners, our family. In return, they served us. Carly carried the burden of making sure every artisan was treated fairly and with respect. Erin constantly spoke words of affirmation with her gentle voice. Michael revealed things to us through his camera lens that we didn't know existed. And, me? I was there. I was the one who ate all the food. I was the one who cracked the jokes. I was the one who cried the most and laughed the loudest when everyone was exhausted. At the end of the day, we served a purpose, we served each other, and we served our Indian family. We were all equal. We all brought something to the table. We all gave, and we all received.
During our time, I finally understood what my friend Van said about service, "I have come to learn that instead of helping, where it is inherently a hierarchical relationship, service is a reciprocal one where we learn as much from those we serve. Service is a continuous dialogue between offering and receiving."
Van's quote came to life for me when we visited the tie-dye house. If you know me, you know I like to get my hands dirty. The women artisans were tying and knotting fabric and dying them with rich, black dye. Well, I wanted to learn. I wanted to join in with the women and, I did. My hands and legs were instantly stained with the luscious black ink . I didn't care. I wanted to leave the stains. They were precious to me. But, I had to sit in Jyoti's car and she wouldn’t appreciate black spots smeared across the seats. Also, I could hear my mawmaw say, "Taylor Meadows, you better wash off!"
The women obviously thought the same because they took my hand and guided me to the wash station. I was very capable of washing the dye off my hands and legs, but they wanted to take care of me. They essentially wanted to "wash my feet". I gave to them and they wanted to give to me. It was one of the most beautiful moments for me on the trip. I served them, and they served me. I honored their efforts and they honored mine. I wasn't better than them and they weren't better than me. We were equal.
There you have it, folks. You now know what I do for a living. It's a small but powerful living. My heart is full and my life is rich. I work with those who view every human being on this planet as their equal. I partner with those who respect those who are disrespected because of their color, clothing, beliefs and socioeconomic status. In technical terms, I communicate for small brands and organizations for a living by giving them a voice through PR, social media, digital advertising and content writing. At the end of the day, I will sit on the concrete floor and listen to your story. I will dye shirts with you. I will cry with you and laugh with you. At the end of the day, I will serve you.