Connecting People, Being Kind!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, April 2, 2014

preschool palms painting

Connecting People, Being Kind!

I have a new friend! Azar is the Director of Kids Academy, a preschool in the church where I now work in Morton Grove. She is a lovely woman, and so good and caring with the small children and teachers she directs. She has been leading this preschool for twenty years. I have had an interest in preschool ever since my children were small and attended preschool themselves. Being a helper with the children in the classroom and contributing my time was important to me. I look forward to getting to know Azar better and finding out where I might best be able to help her.

When we were talking briefly today, I happened to mention the preschool my two younger children had attended, several suburbs over from where I work. Azar had heard of the preschool, but didn’t have any more contact with it than that. “I know the Director there,” I said. “I’d be happy to give her a call and connect you two. I think you both would really benefit from knowing each other. And you’re both lovely ladies,” I smiled as I spoke.

My new friend was overjoyed! She thanked me several times as we finished our conversation, and before we went our separate ways.
I reflected on this brief interaction, afterwards. My husband says I not only have the gifts of caring and encouragement, but also a knack for connecting people sometimes. I guess this must be one of those times. That connection-part doesn’t happen every week, or even on a regular basis, but my mind makes connections when people talk to me. (That’s what comes of my being a professional listener, trained in ways of listening and interpreting verbal and non-verbal communication.) So when I make mental-connections, I often mention them to the person or people I’m talking with. And sometimes, I take the next step and introduce the people involved to each other. I’m so pleased when that happens!

God must be pleased when we use the skills and gifts we were given to be useful to others. Or helpful. Or creative. I am not sure whether this knack of connection and connecting people is a bona fide gift from God or not, but I certainly get some pleasure out of doing it! I don’t think God gives skills, gifts and graces to be burdensome. Instead, I figure it’s a part of God’s extravagant, endless creativity.

I don’t quite understand how this mental-connection thing works, but I’ve experienced it. I know it does work. My husband has even verified and acknowledged I have this particular thing, this grace. This ‘something’ from God. That’s enough for me. I am content. And, I get the feeling that God is pleased.

@chaplaineliza
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Be Kind? Improvise! I Mean, Innovate!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pray Pray Pray 1 Thess

Be Kind? Improvise! I Mean, Innovate!

I certainly have done quite a number of things in the past three decades. In the church, I mean. Anywhere from teaching Sunday school to driving the church bus. Leading junior church, or substituting as organist,  to being a Stephen minister. Or sitting on the missionary committee to serving as director of Vacation Bible School. And those are just a few of the positions or ministries I did before I started seminary. During and since graduation I moved into a whole different level of service.

God has gifted me with quite a number of gifts and graces. I certainly acknowledge that I have always enjoyed whatever I have done in the church. God has tapped me on the shoulder quite a number of times, too. I’ve risen to the occasion, pretty much wherever or whenever I am (or was) needed. I have come to think of myself as a jack-of-all-trades, since that is what I’ve been. A generalist, not a specialist. (Although I do have a couple of areas of specialty now, true enough. But this post isn’t about them. Maybe a later post will be.)

But let’s get to the point of this post. Enough with the background, you’re thinking.

I am a great partner in ministry! I’ve been doing service for a long enough time to realize that I work well in cooperation or in partnership with other people. Take the prayer ministry I am coordinating at the church where I’m a member. Sure, I coordinate the emails, and keep track of the prayer requests and praises. I readily admit that without the faithful praying people who receive the prayer emails and pray through them each week, the prayer ministry would fizzle and dry up.

I know that God is honored through the prayer ministry. I have also had people come up to me (out of the blue!) and bring me requests. Sometimes urgent requests, as well. I know I’ve mentioned them in at least one recent post, too. Of course my chaplain skills come to the fore, at a time like this. Also my Stephen training. And I can think of the material I studied in several seminary classes which would be applicable, too.

Yes, it is a joy and a responsibility to need to step up to the plate, especially when I don’t even know it’s coming. When something sneaks up and hits a person out of left field, in other words. I am so glad I am there to help them get through the difficult time, or the surgery and rehab, or the expected death, or whatever else might be some burden the other person is carrying. This evening, I had the privilege to pray for a frightened person after a confirmation of a disease from the doctor. This dear person is afraid and anxious. So, of course I will add this name to the prayer email!

Dear God, thank You for the grace and mercy with which You hear all of our earnest prayers. We especially pray for this dear one I just found out about tonight. Dear Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

@chaplainelizagrace