Marti’s at it again. She wants you to do something daring and live to tell us about it. I know. I know how annoying it is to be pulled out of your comfort zone (I’m married to her, for heaven’s sake, I have to deal with this all the time), but it will be good for you. It always is. So in this week of Thanksgiving, Marti wants us to focus on the “giving” part of ThanksGIVING.
Have you ever met a person whose greatest need was anything other than real, unconditional love? There is no mistaking this love, it is the common fiber of life, the flame that heats our soul, energizes our spirit and supplies passion to our lives.
This love is found first in the Lord, then echoed in the simplicity of compassion we can show in a variety of ways to someone else, because God has shown it to us. Those who make compassion an essential part of their lives find what the Lord says is the joy of life.
Yet, with so much packed within our schedules, we can often overlook the many daily opportunities to give and to experience compassion.
Since there is no such thing as a small act of compassion (every act is like a ripple with no logical end), we are playing into God’s hand when we alleviate even one small burden from those around us who are carrying too much. While on earth, we will probably never know how far this chain reaction goes or how much of a difference it makes in someone’s life, but we will someday.
That is why over the next 6 days we are collecting everyone’s stories of compassion, stories where you stepped out beyond yourself to carry out an act of unconditional love and kindness towards someone else.
We want to create a ripple effect and thus have come up with some ideas to get you thinking about your story of compassion.
- Stop several times in a day to notice others and then go out of your way to be courteous to everyone around you. When you’re standing in line waiting to pay for your food at the grocery store or longing for the line at the Bank to move along faster before the money runs out, offer to let the person behind you go in front of you.
- Little girls love to become princesses like Cinderella by adding a tutu around their day-to-day clothing. The next time you see a little princess, step into her life of make-believe and ask for her autograph.
- Find someone who is overcoming barriers. Listen to his story. Tell him how you plan to apply his lesson to your life. There are people of all sizes and dispositions who are overcoming obstacles every day. It is a matter of looking for them. For example, a little girl stricken by cancer was recently asked how she stayed so positive. “Well” she said, “a little fishy told me to just keep swimming.” I am looking forward to telling her how I applied her fishy’s wise words to my life.
- The next time you stop into a casual restaurant, look for someone who is very lonely and sad or perhaps someone with visible disabilities that can be difficult for others to be near. Ask if you might join your new friend, promising that you will be good company by listening to her story.
- Give to men and women without homes a simple ‘care pack’ containing everyday accessories and toiletries like toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and deodorant.
- Call your community shelter and ask if they need more cooked turkeys or side dishes for their Thanksgiving dinner. The answer undoubtedly will be “Yes!”
- We all know a Single Mom. She lives a life of multiple challenges. Help her with simple considerations that are overwhelming. to her. I’m especially conscious of Single Moms so have a few simple acts of kindness that can go a long way…
- Tell your single mom that she has the next Saturday off because you are giving her children an entertaining day of fun. (The children won’t bite unless you bite first.)
- Single Moms have been rejected and in many cases betrayed. So don’t be surprised if she thinks if you are helping her it’s because you want something in return. She is suspicious of compassion. Therefore, give a Single Mom your phone number and tell her to call if she needs someone to talk to or someone to visit when she is afraid. Just knowing there is someone to call can be everything to a Single Mom.
- From a Single Mom’s point of view, if you have the gift of fixing, God has favored you over all men and women. There isn’t a Single Mom who doesn’t have a dripping sink, a broken window, a busted safety lock, dead smoke alarm batteries, or service needed on her vehicle. The list is endless, but you need tend to only one “fix it” for her to love you forever.
- Find out something you are good at (tax preparation, accounting, head hunting, etc.) and make a commitment to use your talent to help at least one Single Mom.
- Invite her and her children for dinner. Make her dinner and bring it over when you see her drive in from work. Don’t stop to talk. She is tired and the kids are hungry.
- Invite her and her kids to join you for Thanksgiving dinner.
- Be the Walmart Greeter wherever you go. Hold a door open for someone and give them a smile. A small and unexpected gesture on your part will certainly brighten their day and may even turn around a bad mood.
- Get out of your comfort zone and make a friend. Introduce yourself to a stranger and strike up a conversation, or perhaps there is someone you’ve seen occasionally on the bus or in the neighborhood. Ask them how they’re doing. Find out what they think about the community, the school system – anything that you both might have in common.
Most of these examples are just simple acts of compassion – ways to make someone’s day memorable. After all, would you forget the stranger who went out of his or her way to make your day?
As we become acquainted with compassion, we learn new things and feel new feelings. Compassion is more than a thought, it is the conviction of the Spirit. That is why we want to know whether it was difficult for you to begin. Did you have to overcome fears before you could act? Was it unexpected? What was the response of the other and how did you feel? Did compassion deepen the spirit? Were there results?
As we hear from you, we will post your stories throughout this week and over the weekend. We welcome your story.