Another Snowy Day

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

a boy's best friend

Today was another snowy day. Slow driving, drifting snow. Treacherous walking, blowing snow. A good day to be of service! So many worthwhile opportunities, I saw potential ways of service all over the place. I rose to the occasion. Ran an errand for someone else. Cleaned someone else’s kitchen. Several times, people expressed their gratitude to me. Said ‘thank you’ to me. And, that felt good.

I’m not doing this for the strokes. (At least, not primarily for the strokes . . . but that is a consideration. Let’s be honest, now.) I want to see how making intentional service a daily part of my life will have an effect on me. Will it change me? (I think, yes.) If so, how will it change me? What kinds of service am I drawn toward, or repelled from? What about those I serve—what are some varying attitudes towards being served?

I return to the verse I’ve chosen for the month of January. Ephesians 4:32 begins “Be kind to one another . . . .” Service is a great way for me to get out of myself, and being kind is certainly one way to be of service. One of the attitudes I wanted to flee from is the attitude of self-centeredness, or of bondage to self. When I concentrate on myself to the exclusion of everyone else, that is selfishness to the extreme. God is not pleased with me, and neither are other people. And truth be told, I am ultimately not pleased with myself, either. So, being kind is a positive step outside of my self, or a step outside of my self-centeredness.

As I’ve said before, I do have the gift of being helpful—on occasion. It comes naturally to me. Usually. I especially want to focus on being kind to others. Surprise, surprise! I find I take the focus off myself. And, I put the focus on God and on other people, which is so beneficial to me and my continued journey with God.

This blog will incorporate my thoughts on my intentional service, but it may morph into something more. In fact, I hope so! Here’s an example. As a part of the launch of this blog, I sent out a message/email to a number of my friends and acquaintances yesterday.  I included this quote:  “If you have a great way of serving, please drop me a line and tell me about it. I’d like to list some tried-and-true ways to serve others on my blog site, too. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.” In this twenty-four hour period, the response has been amazingly gratifying, and quick!  A dozen ideas of how to serve others, and that’s just the beginning!

My heart was so warmed by this generous response that I decided today to have a weekly focus on one featured way of doing or being of service. I want to make Friday my focus day. (“Feature Friday,” anyone?) Stay tuned for ways to serve that have particularly touched my heart.

@chaplaineliza

(P.S. I don’t know who took this photo, but I thought it was an awesome expression of being kind!)

Day One–A Snowy Day

A Year of Being Kind blog post – Wednesday, January 1, 2014

snowy landscape

Day One – A Snowy Day

When I woke up this gray morning, I saw snow. Light, fluffy snow. A brisk, chilly day. I brushed off the car and got ready to leave. As I drove to my friend’s house, I observed the beauty of the parkway along McCormick Road. White, almost pristine. Faint sparkles caught my eye as I looked at the snowy landscape. I thought of my fresh, new year, spread out before me. Like a wide, snowy expanse that hasn’t been walked on yet.

Since this is New Year’s Day, a holiday, my car was one of the very few cars on the road. Strange to be out after eight o’clock in the morning in suburban Chicago and to see the streets almost deserted. I could have just stayed home too, but I chose to be out and about. One of my friends had asked me to take her on several errands this morning. It was so good to see her! We had a wonderful time together. And, I was very glad to be of service, be available for my friend.

As a matter of course, I often focus on acts of service from time to time during any particular week. But 2014 is slightly different. I will be intentionally pursuing (looking for?) acts of service for each day. That’s every day this year. Moreover, I am choosing a verse from the Bible to use as a background for each month of service in 2014. Another way of thinking about my choice of verse is as subtext to my month’s service, as well as for my month’s blogs. For January, the verse I have chosen is Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”

I’ve planned each month to focus on a different aspect of service. I wanted to concentrate on being kind this month. (As long as my blog is titled “A Year of Being Kind,” I did wish to start the year in that way.)  I’ve been told a number of times that I often act in a naturally kind and tenderhearted manner. When the idea for this whole concept came to me earlier in December, I felt that it was so natural for me! Helping one of my friends was natural, too. A joy, in fact.

I don’t want this year of service to devolve into “shoulds” and “obligations.” That’s the last thing I want, to be forced to do something simply because I said I would. I have a feeling I will need to be reminded about this, but that’s okay. (I hereby give anyone the permission to remind me, whenever I gripe.) I want this Year of Being Kind to be a year of opportunity for me. I have asked God-as-I-understand-God for opportunities to help others and be of service, but also to be gifted with opportunities for me. For my personal growth and development, too.

Yes, it will be a journey. A daunting, exciting, up-and-down journey. Will you come along with me? I have no idea what lies ahead. Oh, right. A year of service!