How to Be Helpful? Everyone Pitches In!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, October 4, 2014

autumn road

How to Be Helpful? Everyone Pitches In!

Isn’t it wonderful when everything comes together? Especially when a big event—planned for some time—happens, and everything works out wonderfully? Yeah. That happened tonight.

Actually, this morning was really awesome, too. But more about that, first. I’ll briefly describe what happened this morning, as an appetizer to this evening’s festivities. I prepared for a Blessing of the Animals this morning. Yes, I had fliers with a prayer all printed up, but the weather did not cooperate.

Today was the coldest day of the fall so far, and the weather was threatening to rain all morning. (And, it finally did start sprinkling, just before noon. Just before I started to move things inside.) Lo and behold, I blessed nine animals. Several in-depth conversations happened. Plus, two more people came to the church and brought lists of their animals. The two dear people wanted their pets blessed long-distance. Of course, I did!

But, this evening? Better and better. It was marvelous to see so many people come out and support St. Luke’s Church. And like I said before, everything came together to create a lovely night. Excellent food, hard work by everyone involved. Even the student youth leader and his roommate came to the spaghetti dinner—both did yeoman’s service, helping out with the serving and whatever else was needed around the kitchen and the fellowship hall.

Such an example of service! Serving with love and caring to others, being helpful, loving and caring with no sign of anyone paying me back or doing something for me in exchange. And here, at St. Luke’s Church? That kind of attitude is what I saw. That’s the loving and caring attitude I find in the larger passage I’m preaching from tomorrow, from John 16 and 17. How wonderful it is to show others how important each individual is. Such a difference! And, each person is truly valued and cared for.

Everyone pitching in helps each one to be more and more encouraged and supported. And, the encouragement and support is circular, helping members of the congregation feel better about themselves. Which just encourages more love and caring to others. That is what I would like to show to everyone: our congregation truly is striving to be a congregation after God’s own heart. Difficult? Challenging? Are there setbacks, sometimes? Yes. Yes, and yes. What’s more, I think God is pleased and continues to bless our efforts. God willing, we’ll continue to try!


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Helpful? Four Significant Conversations.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, October 2, 2014

speak so others listen, listen so others speak to you

Helpful? Four Significant Conversations.

I’ve been told I have the spiritual gift of helps. As I’ve mentioned in this space before, I enjoy helping people! Sure, I’ve needed to learn when and where to offer a hand. But by and large, when I do offer to help, people are open. Receptive. Sometimes, even grateful.

Today, I participated in a number of conversations. Four were especially significant. In two of them, I was greatly helped. The other two conversations? That was where I helped others out. And, I think they were grateful.

One of the conversations was with my spiritual director. She is marvelous! I am so blessed to have her as my spiritual mentor. I asked her for her opinion, and then advice, on two subjects. Wow! She has such clarity and understanding. I thought that conversation very helpful to me. Also, she aided me in some direction I ought to take. Always a plus, particularly when I am wondering which of several paths to take.

In two of the other conversations today, I was helpful to two separate people. I went the extra distance with one, and sent several files by email after our conversation. I hope the files made my points clear. At least, my friend said that the electronic file transfer would be helpful. (I certainly hope so!)

I was just thinking to myself—I wonder how the Rabbi Jesus (as He was, in His earthly body) was involved in personal interaction? The Gospels record a number of conversations Jesus was involved in. I never really thought about it before, but I could track the interactions Jesus had with others. Categorize them. Find places where Jesus was helpful. Of service. See whether I can find any other commonalities. That would be fascinating, and helpful! (And, I am certain it’s been done before. But, fascinating, nonetheless!)

Even though I purposely set out to be helpful, people don’t always want assistance. They want to do things on their own sometimes. Yeah. I get that. And that’s okay. Even great! But for me to be ready, able-bodied, willing to help when asked or needed? That’s worth a great deal. Yes, I can be of service. I am often kind. I want to help. God, lead me into situations where I can be helpful. Like I was today. And, thanks for the conversations I had, where I was the one who received help.


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Being Kind, Relative-ly Speaking

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, September 21, 2014

girl, roses, heart in the sand

Being Kind, Relative-ly Speaking

I have a number of relatives. Including siblings. I was born into a family of six brothers and sisters here in Chicago. Now, of course, the family has scattered for a number of reasons (mostly work-related) to the far corners of the country.

One of my sisters has repeatedly been coming to my mind. One problem: even when that happens, I just do not pick up the telephone to call. At least, I usually don’t even think of calling Sue, except very early in the morning or much too late at night. You know, the times a decent person wouldn’t even think of calling unless there were a life or death emergency. Somehow, I kinda, sorta figured my sister repeatedly coming to mind is not—to my mind—a life or death emergency. In addition, I was quite busy for the last few days, on top of everything else.

I did remember to call her at a reasonable time, this evening. She wasn’t home, but I left her a cheery message. I do hope she spent an enjoyable, relaxing weekend.

I did remember something else, too. Some good advice my sister gave me, when I had just started working for St. Luke’s Church in March. Yes, it’s been just about six months, and I have been looking back over the past months, plus my track record while at the church. I‘ve only just started reflecting and assessing, and I have a ways to go. However, I am quite pleased at what I’ve turned up so far. So, yes. I’m looking backwards, to see what I did. And what advice was given to me. But wait, there’s more. Much more!

Now, I’d like to consider where I’d like to go, and what I want to do. The help and assistance with prayer is so kind! I thank everyone for their kindness and caring towards me.

From one of our earlier conversations, my sister Sue gave me an excellent advice that I will try very hard to continue to implement. With the start of the fall season already here, I know Sue’s words will be gracious and helpful! I know my sister will call back, and I have a lot to tell her.

So, I’m grateful to my sister for her kindness to me and assistance she gave to me in March. And I hope she appreciates the cheery message I left on her voice mail today. I hope so. I pray so!


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Being of Service on the Telephone

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, August 4, 2014

PRAY healing prayer

Being of Service on the Telephone

I made a number of telephone calls today. I talked with a number of people, some of them extended conversations. The most important, most significant part of several of these conversations? I joined in prayer with the person on the other end of the line. Feeling the fellowship that prayer brings.

Prayer is supposed to be a natural, everyday thing. For some people, it certainly is! I can tell, just from the ease, the confidence, the eagerness that some people bring to prayer. For these people, it is truly a conversation between them and their Best Friend. Between them and their Heavenly Parent. And, amen to that! I wish things could always be that way between God and me.

Today, I know that several people appreciated my prayers over the phone. And, I visited one person in the middle of the day, who even said my prayers hit the spot! I am glad. I used to pray much more often, as a chaplain working in an urban hospital (in Chicago). It seemed like I was doing much the same thing today. Many of the calls I made today ended with prayer. I hope I was an encouragement and support to several of these friends I talked with on the phone today.

Now, I am going to switch gears for a few moments. I went to yoga class this evening, and had a great time. I am progressing in core strength, and am feeling better and better as the weeks go by. When I came back to the locker room, I took the lock off my locker and started to shuffle through my stuff. I had the urge to go to the bathroom, so I did. Without putting the lock back on my locker. The locker room was almost empty. Only four other women, three in other areas. One young woman, about twenty, was halfway dressed and about twenty feet down the way at the lockers facing me.

I hurried to the bathroom around the corner, came back, and met my yoga instructor. She and I had a brief conversation. The young woman had left the locker room by the time I opened my locker again.

I pulled on my street clothes. For some reason, I pulled out my wallet from my pants pocket. I checked it again, to make certain. Sure enough, there was a twenty dollar bill missing. Earlier, I had gone to the cash station and taken out forty dollars. I stopped for lunch this afternoon, and spent a few dollars. So, the ten, five, and one dollar bills were in my wallet, true. But the twenty was gone. I did not fly off the handle. I did not get all upset. However, I did feel badly for that young woman. I don’t know for sure, but I strongly suspect she did take the twenty.

I found myself praying for that young woman. As I remembered her standing by her locker—I had just a glimpse of her—I remember thinking that she seemed sad. Possibly with low self-esteem. It was how she held herself and the sad, almost pinched expression on her face. All this registered with me in a flash as I turned and busied myself at my own locker.

God, I do pray for whoever took that twenty dollar bill. I hope and pray that they are blessed—nurtured by whatever they buy with it.


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Of Service? Using the Telephone!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, May 28, 2014

telephone drawing

Of Service? Using the Telephone!

I did a number of things today, including a bit of breakfast family-time. Leftovers from the family reunion yesterday. Even though I had to be at work later this morning, it was so good to see several of my dear family members one last time (for this visit, at least!).

After arriving at the church, I got together some materials and facilitated a bible study. Not the usual bible study, but that’s okay! A confluence of some significant things all impressed themselves upon me, and I wanted to bring them to the bible study this morning. It is amazing how God brings disparate things to my attention, and then—like puzzle pieces—they arrange themselves into a pattern. Wow! Amazing how that works. And then, sometimes, I just have to bring these significant patterns to people’s attention. Like today. I hope it was a worthwhile bible study for those who attended. I pray so!

However, I didn’t want to go on and on about the study in this blog posting. No, I wanted to talk about the telephone. Yes, I know that some people today don’t use the telephone as much any more. Many people prefer to use the Internet. Email. Texting. Other forms of communication. Not me. No, I still enjoy talking on the phone. I relish that personal interaction, that connection I make with a person over the telephone lines. (Or, even more significant, talking face to face! But that’s the topic of another blog post. For another day.)

This afternoon, I had several telephone conversations. One in particular was of note. I was asked to find out some information, verify some facts, and take down some recommendations. And afterwards, I need to write up a brief fact-finding report, giving my personal insights and what I recommend for this specific situation. Everything about this is so interesting! And, I tried (and continue to try) to take the opportunity to be of service. Especially in this situation, I am trying my darnedest to be helpful.

Gosh, I didn’t expect the spiritual gift of helps to be so active in me! I knew I had some of it, especially from the inventory of spiritual gifts I did quite some years ago. Yes, that was a no-brainer. However, deciding to embark upon this Year of Being Kind really activated the gift of helps within me. I mean, I’ve looked for ways I might be able to help, for years. But this commitment, these 365 Days of Service are teaching me to put out my spiritual antennae. To actively look for people, places and things that might need some service. Or a helping hand. Or someone to be kind.

And sure enough, God is sending things to do, people to see and places to go. All in the name of God. Gosh, I wonder what God will send my way tomorrow? I’m not sure, but I suspect it will be great!


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