Any time I get to write to you all is time well-spent. Therefore, I’m overjoyed to express unending thankfulness for you all. You, my brothers, ARE Beta Gamma Chi. Our colors, crest, constitution, etc, are empty without the uniqueness of each brother who pledges to it. Boasting about our fraternity of distinction is quite easy, but it is far easier to love you all simply because of who you are and all you bring to our world of brotherhood.
I’m accustomed to living a certain way as a man of the world. I enjoy a nice place and things; some technological, some musical, and mostly all economically acquired. They all serve to provide a comfortableness in my adulthood. While I can be materialistic, I’m perfectly content with enjoying life without the latest, flashiest, and best. I pay for nearly all the things, places, and events I enjoy (and need for daily function). My adult living, additionally, is not complete without securing the steadiness of where I live. That’s right, brothers! Paying the rent is constant! Until I own a home (and a piano, hopefully) with completed mortgage payments, I will dish out the appropriate monthly payments.
...and strive to get it in on time!
Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman U.S. presidential hopeful, once said “Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.” This quote was thrown at me quite a bit as a youth. I had a limited view of service as a spoiled, then only-child, West Philly nerd. If I helped my block pick up the trash on Community Clean-Up Saturdays, I thought I was doing my part. If I handed my spare change to homeless sisters and brothers on the street, I felt good to do a “service” to them. Because I was spoiled rotten while living in poverty, my view on service was nothing more than kind acts of service that reserved your seats in heaven. I remember feeling such a way about this between ages nine and ten. Approaching thirty, I would tell that Khyle to sit down and take twenty years worth of notes. I’ll stick to two brief points here.
How can you BE of service?
While serving obviously denotes action, Sis. Chisholm was onto something. We get to live on this earth a pretty good while. Since we’re here, we are well able to do wonderful things with our time. Service is not a testament to our able-bodiedness, the superior nature of our capabilities, or the strength of our moral fiber. When we serve, it’s for others. When we give, it is to bless others. When we work our God-given purpose toward humankind, it’s to honor, restore, and connect to the souls and spirits of others. “Paying the rent” is an action, but it eventually becomes who we are if we lovingly allow it. Doing a service yields far less output than BEING of service.
My heart was made glad in talking to the latest membership intake class. In their eyes and voices, I could sense all the earnest passion that goes into becoming a Beta man. As a founder, I’m always overjoyed to connect with candidates as they transition into Betaland if only to share in all the energy and courage it takes to take full ownership of their letters. Brothers, I submit that the same energy and courage will be of use to you as you serve in the name of Beta. Furthermore, our view on service will only expand as our worldview expands. What do you love about yourself, your community, your tribe, your work, your world? How do you see yourself in every element? How do you see and feel each element growing with you in it? When your worldview grows, you make room for service. When there’s plenty of room, you’ll need plenty of hands (see Langston Hughes’ Freedom’s Plow). “Paying the rent” takes work, but it takes all of us to do it.
My desires for Beta Gamma Chi are directly related to the desires I have for myself; purpose, longevity, and meaningful impact. Service is one way we get it done. Though it is a huge focal point for our brotherhood, each brother must do the work of finding and loving those things that make us most useful to our world. Service is both rewarding and thankless. Service is sometimes inconvenient, but life-giving. Service is always in the business of building a better world. I believe with all my heart that service is what makes Beta special and set apart. I wish for all of us a renewed zeal for reaching a big world with a big heart. New ideas, new plans, and new strategies are headed our way! Let’s get ready, brothers! Get your dollars and cents in order. THE RENT IS ALWAYS DUE!
Here with you,