Telling My Story, Being Helpful

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, June 2, 2014

picking up nobodies

Telling My Story, Being Helpful

I don’t know about you, but I have difficulty connecting with people when they try to lecture me. (Well, not always, but usually. There are exceptions. Rare, but true.) If someone tries to deliver dry, dull facts and figures without something to catch my interest, good luck trying to keep my attention.

But this wasn’t the case this afternoon. I went to the YMCA, to my yoga and gentle stretching class. Excellent class, as always! I found my heart rate slowing down, my breathing evening out. Everything about my respiration and operation of my cardio system became much more even. Wonderful, how that happens. And these positive, physical qualities happen whenever I go to yoga now, indeed!

True, I had a number of things to do today. Plus, I brought my daughter to the store to get some containers. (She’s discovered she loves tea. So, she now has more than a dozen different kinds of tea. Thus—the containers.) I was almost late for yoga class! I did get in to the YMCA just a few minutes before class began. So, whew!

I honestly tried to focus on the various poses we had set for us. (Mostly the same, from week to week.) Because of the excellent teaching and facilitation of the class, I always am able to enter into this class. I become fully present for the stretching, yoga poses, and final relaxation—and it’s wonderful. But it was afterwards that I think I was helpful.

In the locker room, I changed out of my exercise clothes and put on the street clothes I had in my locker. I overheard the conversation between my teacher and one of the other students, on the other side of the bank of lockers. I laughed and made a second comment to my teacher, who was standing at the end of the lockers—visible to both my classmate and to me. The other woman piped up, “Who is that over there?” in a friendly kind of way. I came around and we greeted each other. The woman asked, “What was that you said?”

I told her that I had been going to yoga class since the beginning of December. And, my back has had so much less pain recently! I swear by yoga, and by the marvelous combination of yoga poses and stretching my wonderful teacher uses. The woman nodded, quite serious, listening intently. I told her a little bit of my story! Not about the scary, or the sad. But about the pertinent part. About how much of a difference yoga has made in my life, even though I have just been going to this class for only six months.

Telling my story? It makes a big difference! People sit up and listen! But if I lecture and inform with dry statistics and facts, I won’t have much of an audience at all. I’m glad I could give this woman a hopeful, encouraging outlook on yoga.

God, thanks for giving me the push to get into yoga. It sure helps me, both physically and mentally. And I had a great story to tell today, too. Always a good thing.

@chaplaineliza

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Giving a Shove, Kindly

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, January 26, 2014

chairs shoveled parking place

Giving a Shove, Kindly

I visited some friends this afternoon in a densely populated area of our suburb. Not too far from the Elevated public train stop. I was looking forward to a decent cup of coffee! I parked the car nearby, and walked the rest of the way. As I was walking, I saw a car stuck by the curb. Here in the Chicago area, when it snows, sometimes people have difficulty getting out of their parallel parking places. Especially if the snow is of any depth at all. So, there was this guy with a smaller car. He even had put down kitty litter so his front wheels could get some traction, and was trying to rock his way out. No luck.

The guy looked downhearted. As I walked down the block, I saw him keep trying to get out of the parking place. Without success. I’m in decent shape for my age, and I was early for the meet-up. So, I decided to offer my assistance. He rolled down his window, thanked me for my offer and told me about the kitty litter effort. However, he warned me, “Another guy tried to help a couple of minutes ago, with no luck.” He sighed, looking up at me with a resigned twist to his mouth. I repeated my offer with a smile. He paused a moment, and then gladly accepted. I didn’t want to give him lots of advice, but I did say, “I noticed you trying to rock your car. I’ve gotten my car out in weather like this, and that’s the way to do it. For sure!” We exchanged smiles again, and I went to the rear of the small car.

I tried to time my shoves with his rocking. He almost got the car moving forward, but not quite. I spent about two minutes helping. No luck, again. Another man materialized at my side at the rear of the car. He had assessed what the problem was, and gave the driver a brief explanation and how-to. I stood by, nodding my encouragement. The driver looked more hopeful, now that there were two of us to give a friendly shove. Sure enough, in about thirty seconds, the driver had freed himself from the pile of snow by the curb. He waved to both of us behind the car, and we all went our separate ways.

What a way to be kind and useful. This kind act of service made me think of similar acts—similar activities. In fact, an analogy for everyday life. Just as this driver was stuck in a pile of snow (and not such a huge pile, either), I can get stuck in everyday activities, too. I can get snowed under by a pile of errands, meetings, paperwork, telephone calls that need to be made, emails that need to be read and answered. Sometimes it’s helpful for others to come alongside of me and give me a hand (or a shove!). Then, I can get free of the stuff clogging me up from moving, and freed for more kind, God-honoring acts of service.

Wow. I didn’t expect that. God, such a down-to-earth object lesson for me. Thanks!

@chaplaineliza