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.

@chaplaineliza

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Off the Hamster Wheel, Into Service

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, July 24, 2014

KIND one persons act of kindness

Off the Hamster Wheel, Into Service

Ever have someone say something that really hit home? (Upon reflection, this has been happening to me a lot, lately . . . )

I was talking with a couple of friends and acquaintances earlier, and one of them said something particularly striking. Striking to me, anyway. My friend made mention of personal shortcomings, and commented that service to others very much helped in lessening these shortcomings.

That comment did indeed resonate with me! Oftentimes, I find that I am all caught up in my own head. Me, me, me. After all, I’m the most important person in the room! (Aren’t I? That’s me, the extrovert with an inferiority complex talking.)

Service was one of the biggest reasons I started this blog, A Year of Being Kind. I gave it a subtitle, too: 365 Days of Service. My friend’s comment started the wheels turning in my own brain. I can be so preoccupied with “self” (that’s myself, thank you very much) that I feel like I’m going round and round in my own head. Like a hamster on a hamster wheel. Round and round and round. However, when I get involved in serving others, in being kind and helpful, I realize I get off of the hamster wheel. For at least a little while.

Accordingly, I did just that today. I went out of my way to give someone a telephone call, in another state. It’s been about two months since I saw him. This was a call to find out how my acquaintance was doing, and to generally check in. My acquaintance was so pleased to hear from me! It was good to hear from him. And, ask for some prayer praises and prayer requests, too. I also tried to pass along some encouragement. I hope I was successful.

I know I hit a home run with my pointers I gave, as far as a ministry suggestion. I gave my acquaintance the web address of a helpful website I use on a regular basis. He had never heard of it, and it’s one of my go-to sites for sermon preparation. I’m not sure, but I suspect that resource might be a really significant thing for him. I just have that feeling.

So, yeah. I got out of my own head today. And, I helped others and put myself out to serve. Encourage and be kind. What an opportunity to get off the hamster wheel! Thanks for the leading, God. Glad to be of service today. I wonder how You will use me to be kind, tomorrow?

@chaplaineliza

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How Can I Be Kind? Be Present for Others!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, March 8, 2014

Saturday morning - Monmouth College Fall retreat, 2005 - Painting Prayers

Saturday morning – Monmouth College Fall retreat, 2005 – Painting Prayers

How Can I Be Kind? Be Present for Others!

My family took a trip today to Michigan and back. Not particularly a nice day for travel, but we had a luncheon appointment planned for this particular day. We went to a fine restaurant in a small town in Michigan and met two older relatives for lunch. Comfortable eating place, wonderful view, excellent company. I think I can safely speak for us all if I say a fine time was had by all of us.

One of the relatives has done a good bit of (lay) work for the church, for a number of decades. I had the opportunity to seriously listen to him and glean some wisdom from him and his vast experience. What an opportunity! I was very glad I could do that. I could see that he felt good, sharing his expertise. And I? I was listening with both ears open—and pen in hand—taking down all the information I could.

On the way back to Chicago this afternoon, I reflected upon the serious discussion the two of us had over the coffee cups, after lunch. Since I’ve worked as a chaplain for most of the past ten years, I could say that I am also a professional-listener. I listen to people with several aural filters: first, spiritual. Since I often act as a chaplain, I have a primary focus on people’s spiritual orientation (and I don’t mean “religious!” but instead, spiritual, internal focus). Second, emotional. I am naturally intuitive and a feeling/perceptive person, so I can actively listen to individuals and their feeling/emotional orientation.

So, I used my active listening skills at lunch today. (It was automatic—they just sort-of switched on. I found myself in the middle of this significant conversation, and I felt my internal, active listening just being there. Fully operational.) Meanwhile, something was going on under the surface inside of my head while I was cogitating on this conversation. I also reflected on something I recently heard at a gathering of friends. A new acquaintance was speaking. She said quite a number of excellent things. However, what was the most significant thing I thought she said? The most important thing she could do for people besides showing up for them was being fully present with them. I truly appreciated that, and took that thought home with me. The zinger for me? I somehow connected the two trains of thought.

I guess I could say that I was fully present with my older relative today. I listened attentively to him after lunch, with appreciation for his wisdom and expertise. I guess I could also say I took the opportunity to be kind today. Actually, the act of service was a two-way gift this afternoon—both for my relative and for me. I think it is just superb how God sovereignly acts in disparate situations and ties them together in my mind—like at lunch today, and in my remembrance of this recent conversation. Awesome job, God! Thanks so much!

@chaplaineliza

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