I'm just going to run with this, which may not be the best idea in the world, this question that just formulated in m mind: Is providing a service the same as serving a purpose?
I can't say this is even the right question to ask. In fact, as indicated above, it may lead astray, for it may have been inspired more by word play or habit than an attempt at gaining insight. Both seem to address the issue of productivity, but the latter, for some reason, seems more passive. For instance, say I were to offer my photographs for sale. That's providing a service. So is giving the young farmers advice on the proper distance between tomato plants. Now, say those photos don't sell or the young farmers don't take heed. Have I served a purpose?
Heh. That's a set-up, an opening for less than generous responses. Fact of the matter is that the purpose one serves isn't always what one intends when providing a service. Can't do anything about it, or so it would seem. It's in the hands of someone else. Or rather, one might never be aware of what they have done, let alone fulfill their intentions, as far as others are concerned.
Maybe 'passive' isn't the correct term to use. Remember when you first learned the concept of the intangible? Was that a mind-blowing moment or what? The non-quantifiable, bugaboo of all bugaboos and not for the feint of heart. If inertia could spin, it would in this domain of uncertainty. And so we prefer to forget about it, move on, refuse to be led astray by this indulgence. Taught ship. Stiff upper lip.
And this is what's bugging me. That whole 'according to plan' thing.
I was at the VA today. Nothing as serious as it is persistent. I've been patient, both ways, but no longer in one. Not their fault, mind you; just unresolved. So I went. And it's been a while. Eight months or so. No, make that nine. That's a long time, given nothing has changed, and I'm happy to say that the services they provide are at my full disposal, even though it may take a while longer. For the time being, I can be both again.
But this isn't the notion I want to pursue, really. It's the old guys. Heck, it's even some of the new fodder. Today, joy came in the form of ice cream for sale in the lobby. I can't eat ice cream, and I'm okay with that...now. The line was ten or twelve deep. It seemed everyone was walking around with an ice cream cone. There was a joy in the air that I hadn't felt there in a while, as if a bit of youth and innocence had been restored, if only for the duration of that cone. The service served a purpose.
I try to make a point of sitting in the lobby for a bit every time I go to the VA. I show up early and stay after my appointments. There are guys that need to talk and someone to listen. I sit and wait. Today I didn't. Maybe it was the smiles that told me it was okay to forgo the effort today. Even the guy hooked up to an IV and oxygen seemed content with his treat.