Saying “Can I Help?” (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Friday, January 19, 2018

Among several other spiritual gifts, I have the spiritual “gift of helps” in abundance. That was one reason why I decided to do this project—A Year of Being Kind—in the year 2014. I really do enjoy helping people. When I think that the blog post below is right at the very beginning of the year, I get excited all over again. There is absolutely no reason why I cannot continue being kind to others right now, on a daily basis? Helping, being of service, being kind. We don’t have enough kindness in this country. Spread some kindness, if you can.

Saying “Can I Help?”

Posted on January 20, 2014 by chaplaineliza

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, January 19, 2014

helping tree

Saying “Can I Help?”

The Chicago area had a snowfall last night. Feathery, light dusting of snow. Several inches worth of the white stuff. Enough to make older people think twice before venturing out to church. Me, I enjoyed getting outside! The church I attend has a number of senior members, so there were not as many in attendance this morning. Our church has a traditional, liturgical service, with typical elements such as vestments, hymns, and organ. Today, we celebrated the second Sunday after Epiphany. (I sang with the choir, as usual.) The sermon revolved around the followers of John becoming curious about Jesus. “Come and see!” Just as the curious followers of Jesus were invited to come and see, we are, too.

After church, pretty much every week, a couple or several people from the congregation volunteer to host coffee hour. With attendance down today, I happened by the church kitchen immediately after service. I saw the woman hosting coffee hour today just beginning to set out everything on the tables. (Most weeks, all the serving dishes and drinks are set out by that time.) Her husband was not there at the moment, to assist. I smiled at her and heard the words coming from my mouth: “Can I help?”

She was so appreciative, and enthusiastically said “Yes, thank you!” I stripped off my choir robe, shoved it onto a hanger, and hurried to the kitchen. I grabbed the water, and the plates of coffee cake and bowls of grapes, and trotted them out to the table. I saw to the eating-end of the table, and she poured coffee, tea, and water at the other. I had fun, and made myself generally helpful. I re-filled coffee carafes, fetched serving utensils, did whatever else needed doing. I helped her clear off the tables, wash the dishes and carafes, and clean the kitchen. The church grew quiet as it emptied out. She and I had a wonderful time getting to know each other better as we tidied up.

I’ve read in theological books (like chapter 9 in the modern classic by Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline) that serving others is a good choice if someone wants to increase in spiritual disciplines. When I intentionally set out to make this year my year of serving, of finding ways to be kind, I knew that this would entail a good deal of fetching, carrying, listening, and helping. Even if I hadn’t prayed for God to send me specific service opportunities, I would still be helpful. Some Christian elders and people of discernment have told me that I indeed have the spiritual gift of helps. I’ve noticed for years this is something that I enjoy. I knew this propensity would aid me in the practice of being kind.

As I drove home, I realized that those words “Can I help?” came from my mouth without thinking. Just automatic. I was of service, before I even knew it.  God, thank You for putting me in the right place at the right time. Would that service could always be so fulfilling and joy-filled!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my blog: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers– where I am doing a meditation journey through Epiphany and beyond. #PursuePEACE. Pursuing Peace – Thanks!)

(also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com .   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons   from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)


 

Touched by their Kindness

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, December 1, 2014

BK a little kinder

Touched by their Kindness

Today was a down day. A day when I was not feeling up to par (due to a frog in my throat, which I wish would hop away, soon!). However, I got some things done at church. Some email answered, several extended telephone calls made, plus additional work done on the final draft of the children’s Sunday school program. (Chiefly, the addition of some simple stage directions.)

Since I felt under the weather, I was almost tempted not to come to the church at all today. However, I needed to meet with several people. And, I had another brief meeting this morning. Thank goodness for over the counter medication! It makes going to work bearable, at least.

A very dear senior member of our congregation died recently. Several relatives dropped by St. Luke’s Church today to bring the church something very special—a whole Christmas town and Christmas train, made with colorful yarn. Needlepointed on plastic, and lovingly—painstakingly—put together.

The dear senior’s spouse made the Christmas town some years ago, but the spouse died several years ago. Now, both have passed on. However, the Christmas town and train are still here. The relatives wanted the church to have them, in memory of the dear couple.

I thought this was marvelous, and I told the relatives so! Such a wonderful way to be kind. I let them know that the church would love to have the Christmas town, permanently. I put a sign on the big plastic bin, announcing its contents, too.

I feel happy and appreciative when I am the recipient of kindness, however indirectly. God bless the memory of these two dear seniors. And, God bless their family.

@chaplaineliza

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Praying for Others? You’ve Got It!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, July 1, 2014

God Faith God is already there

Praying for Others? You’ve Got It!

What about today, when I found some reasons to be a faithful member of Christ’s body? In confessions made, or precaution ministry? What about when someone has a birthday? What then?

I went to the YMCA earlier today, to work out and exercise. Wouldn’t you know that a kind, generous someone who works at the Y is celebrating a birthday? Yes! That is so positive an event. Great idea!

Some sweet older person had even gone out of her way to purchase a card. The card was lovely, and many people had signed already. Great job in being kind and encouraging, too.

I wished this person a very happy birthday. Of course I did! And, I also signed the card.

This staff member was very much touched and appreciative of my prayers. Hey, I pray most every day, at least when I’m putting others first, in the forefront of the day. Not tomorrow, not next week, but today. And that was what I prayed for, wished for. Praying God’s blessings, protection, and care come upon this loved one of God’s.

Such a small thing. Except—not in this staff member’s eyes. Praise God! Something simple, that anyone can do. Yet, something profound, too. Any time that a person agrees to provide intercession in prayer? Pray for someone’s encouragement, and to reach out in prayer? Priceless, as the television commercial and the ad agency tell us.

Yes, God bless this Y staff member. And family. Send every good blessing and every worthwhile thing their way, too! Amen, dear God.

@chaplaineliza

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Go to Visit? Be Kind!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, June 21, 2014

BK make someone happy

Go to Visit? Be Kind!

Sure, I put on my Mom-hat and went to pick up my son this evening. He was staying at his good friend’s house on the other side of town. And because it’s Saturday night, my son asked if he might pop in to a potluck dinner near our house, and stay for a few hours. Being the nice mom that I am, I said yes.

But before we left his good friend’s house, I checked in with the friend’s mother. And with the friend.

Let me back up. His friend—also a teenager—got a serious physical condition that developed very rapidly. In less than a week. Many people were very much concerned, and he went to several doctors. Eventually several specialists. He had a hospital stay, and was finally released.

So, of course I checked with his mother when I arrived tonight. At first I asked how her son was doing, and then I inquired about her. I saw that she looked worn with worry, and I mentioned that. (In a softer, nicer way, I hope.) She was appreciative, believe me.

As I waited for my son to get on his shoes and get ready to leave, I took the opportunity to visit his friend. He was looking much better! I told him so, and asked some follow-up chaplainly questions. You know, about his continuing care, the medical staff’s recommendations, and possible next steps. He and I had a brief but good conversation.

When I came upstairs from the basement, I had another chance to talk with the friend’s mother. I listened to some things that had been suggested by the medical staff. Plus, I urged her to rest and take care of herself. I also tried to be as much of a friend and a good listener as I could. (I petted and rubbed their dog, too. He was so happy to see me, and wagged his tail so much! Good dog!)

The only thing I wish I could have remembered is an excellent piece of advice that I have dispensed a number of times! It’s a prudent idea for caregivers and loved one of seriously ill patients to rest and keep their strength up. If the caregiver gets worn down, the ill patient has an even more difficult time maintaining health and wellness.

However, I am glad I had the opportunity to visit at my son’s friend’s house. I continue to pray for him, his mother, and for his improving condition. May God bless him and his family!

@chaplaineliza

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