New Day Herald

My Name is Laren and I’ll Be Your Server

My Name is Laren and I’ll Be Your Server
by Laren Bright

Laren received the Lifetime Service Award at MSIA’s 2016 Conference

Have you ever heard something come out of your mouth that you hadn’t really thought about before and realized it was a profound truth for you? That happened to me around 1991 at a job interview.

I had been working at Hanna-Barbera Animation for three or four years writing cartoon scripts for Saturday morning TV. (That was back in the day before smart phones when watching cartoons on Saturday morning was what kids did.) Then Warner Bros. Animation approached me to be one of the story editors (like a producer in live action television) on a new show they had in the works: Batman: the Animated Series.

I wasn’t sure I really wanted to leave H-B, but my friends in the business were counseling me that this would be a really good career move, so I went to check it out. Even though the position offered a huge increase in pay, I was still iffy. At H-B I was able to pretty much make my own hours as long as I got the work done, which in turn made it easy for me to be at the MSIA headquarters at Prana on Monday nights for ministerial board meetings. I had been serving with the LA Ministerial Board for almost ten years at that time and it had become a real priority in my life. The new job would be a lot farther away from Prana and I didn’t know if I would be able to leave early enough to get to the board meeting on time.

I knew the woman I was meeting with well enough that she was aware of my involvement in MSIA. So at one point I found myself making a very interesting—and most definitely unpremeditated—statement.

I said that I had two jobs, a day job and a night job. My day job, I noted, was really important to me because it provided financial income so I could live and support my family. My night job, I told her, which was my volunteer work with MSIA, was really important to me because it kept me together so I could handle my day job. I did not ever want my day job to keep me from doing my night job.

I heard what I said and in that moment, I began to realize in yet another way how important serving was to me.

Generally people in MSIA know me through my work with the ministerial board. That’s nice for me because I like attention as much as the next guy. I don’t talk much about the other stuff I do in service, whether for MSIA or in other areas, and that’s nice, because with that silent service I find a sense of joy and fulfillment that I’m not aware of in any other activities I engage in.

At Conference when I received the award for service this year I said that I was really grateful to be allowed to serve and contribute to work of the quality that J-R has created, and that John Morton and the MSIA Presidency support. Over the years, there have been a few moments when I have gotten a glimpse of what a privilege it is to do this service—or any service—and have written to J-R and John to thank them again for including me in their work. To be honest, there are also moments when the call of service has been annoying or inconvenient. Those are the moments when service gives me the opportunity to learn about myself and grow.

Even as I write this, new benefits to being of service are revealing themselves to me.

I guess the bottom line of it all is that, while I love my MSIA family and am glad to serve, at the end of the day, I do it for me. And I find it interesting that I wasn’t even really aware of how truly important and beneficial service was to me until I heard myself saying what I said at that interview 25 years ago.

Post Script

The people at Warner Bros. agreed to my leaving early on Mondays and I did take the job for the first year of Batman. Interestingly, it was not fun for me because of the nature of the stories we had to write. J-R taught that energy follows thought. For my work in animation I translated that to: What we can inspire the children to believe is what the world will become. The Batman stories were dark and violent and did not create particularly positive images for children to aspire to. However, that assignment did lead to my next job. It was back at H-B, lasted for four years, and would be the last major work I had in the animation field. It was working with a great team of people story editing and writing a show called The New Adventures of Captain Planet. Captain Planet is an environmental superhero whose message is “The power is yours!” Writing stories that hopefully inspired children to make the planet a better, healthier place turned out for me to be another form of service, and yet again I was humbled at being given such an amazing opportunity to serve.

Read the complete NDH September / October 2016 Edition via ISSUU

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