A Year of Service, Almost Over.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, December 30, 2014

only kindness matters

A Year of Service, Almost Over.

Only one more day to 2014. Today was a routine day, a day not particularly out of the ordinary. A quiet day at work, since the preschool was on vacation during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The only thing really different about today was the afternoon. I was asked to take a senior friend of mine to a medical appointment, and pick the senior up afterwards.

Did I, you might ask? Sure! Why not? (I ask this in all seriousness.)

Really—why not? I was asked to pick up the dear person, transport them about ten minutes away, and leave them at the medical appointment. Then, I could go back to work, do work for about an hour, pick up the senior after the appointment, and bring them home. Sure. Of course I could do that. And, I did.

My question is directed to myself, as well as my readers. Again, why not? Why not help someone in need?

Now, I perfectly well understand some people are not particularly steady on their feet or have various health difficulties. Others need to work. Still others have other obligations they need to take care of. But—please, if you can, if you’re able, could you consider picking up someone? A neighbor? And then, transporting them to work or to medical appointments, or even to pick up some groceries, or medication from the pharmacy. Then, back home.

I’d like to remind my readers. I said this year was going to be a journey of service. Of being kind. A daunting, exciting, up-and-down journey. I invited anyone, everyone, to come along with me. To come along with me—and God.

I tried not to have any expectations beforehand. No idea what was lying ahead. (Or, was it lying in wait?) I had been told any number of times—before this Year of Being Kind—that I often act in a naturally kind and tenderhearted manner towards others. I often use my spiritual gifts of helpfulness and mercy. This year, others have surprised me with unexpected words, looks, acts, and ways of being. On occasion, I see such kindness, helpfulness and service in the world today. You and I? God willing, we can add to the kindness. And helpfulness. We can be of service, too.

This year, 2014, has been a banner year for me. I’ve learned a great deal about myself. I’ve learned even more about different ways to be of service. A suggestion? Make 2015 a year to help out.

A year of service for you. 365 days of kindness.

P.S. My new blog for 2015? A Year of Everyday Prayers: Connection with God and Others. Stay tuned! More information tomorrow.

@chaplaineliza

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Of Service? To a Community Member!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, September 24, 2014

HELPING one hand to help Audrey Hepburn

Of Service? To a Community Member!

I like helping people out. I really do. I guess some church people might call that the spiritual gift of helps. (See commentaries on spiritual gifts, and 1 Corinthians 12 for more information.) Yup. I enjoy giving people a hand, when I can. Being of service helps me in so many ways. Including in thinking of other people, and not concentrating so much on me, myself and I. (In other words, focusing on my three favorite people! Or. One favorite person . . . <grin>)

Yesterday, a woman from the neighborhood around the church telephoned the office. She was able to speak to the church office manager, who in turn gave me the message. Sure enough, the anxious woman is looking for someone to care for her elderly relative, who will be getting out of rehab early next week.

What an opportunity to come alongside of this anxious woman, to let her know I was going to search out more people who might have a lead on private duty caregivers or certified nursing assistance. What do you know? I was able to talk with a friend of mine yesterday evening, a woman who works in home health care, and she said she would be happy to talk to this loving family member. Give what information and handy, helpful hints there might be.

Accordingly, I made a follow-up call this afternoon. I was sorry to say that I couldn’t find a caregiver or a CAN who wanted the job. No dice. However—all was not black. The woman quite willingly accepted my offer of the phone number, as well as the name of the website where my friend is listed.

There are a hundred and one other ways to be of service and helpful, even for someone I know on such a superficial basis. Anywhere from giving clear directions, answering a question, offering assistance (such as, in bringing groceries into the house or in taking out the garbage), or doing an errand. I am so glad I was able to call this woman back in a timely fashion. And help her out by giving a suggestion for further help.

So . . . spiritual gift of helps? Can you give a non-religious way of describing it? I’m sorry if all I can come up with is that I enjoy helping people. But, it’s true! I even provide service with a smile, too. (I smile a lot. And sometimes, I can only smile. But isn’t that giving people something, too? Giving people the gift of my friendly smile. Thank God that God gifted me abundantly with a lovely smile. The gift that keeps giving.

@chaplaineliza

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In Which I Am of Service, with Groceries

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, July 29, 2014

small things with great love

In Which I Am of Service, with Groceries

At work today, I discussed mission with several people. More specifically, the mission of our church, and how the church allocates mission funds. Several weeks ago, the church council member overseeing the mission budget instructed me to find out more about two areas of mission and outreach, if I could. (Especially since I went to a mission conference last week.) Both areas are wonderful causes and outreaches, and I tried to find out what I could.

Yes, I now have some further information. The New Wilmington Mission Conference is a fantastic place to start, if a church wants more information about outreaches. However, I couldn’t help but think about our own backyard, our own township. There are people who are hungry, families in financial difficulty, and unemployed heads of households right in the town where the church is located, as well as the larger community. I spoke to these friends about boosting our support for the local food pantry, and my suggestion was favorably received. I’ll repeat the suggestion next week, at the church council meeting.

I left work later in the afternoon. After doing several errands and seeing a few friends, I stopped by a grocery store. On the south side of town, where I don’t usually shop any longer. I saw a middle-aged man with dreadlocks and a lovely smile sitting outside the store enclosure, on several of those plastic milk crates. I smiled at him as I came up. I walked right to him, instead of passing him by, without even making eye contact.

The whisper of a feeling inside me suddenly came out. My mouth opened, and I asked him, “Would you like something? I don’t have too much to spare, but is there anything I could get for you?” He seemed a bit surprised, but came right back with, “Yes. Yes, there is. I would like a can of tuna, please.” Another friend of his was standing at his side. She asked him what he was planning to do with the tuna. He thought a moment, and then frowned. “Hmm. I’m out of mayonnaise now. But at least I have bread. I can eat that with the tuna.” I smiled again, and said I’d see what prices were, inside.

Lo and behold, tuna was on sale. Brand-name, too! And even the mayonnaise was on sale. I got a couple of bananas, as well. That was besides the milk, bananas, soup (on sale!) and potato salad I got for myself.

Outside, I gave the lovely man the grocery bag I had packed for him. He thanked me with a grateful hug, and blessed me. I wished him a blessed night and good sleep, as well. It wasn’t until I had arrived home from the store that I realized what this was. This was being kind. Being of service. Offering groceries to a man I knew—even though I’m just a little bit acquainted with him. He was so appreciative.

That made this whole mission outreach thing come to mind, too. I may not be super-wealthy, but I do have a little extra. God, thanks for urging me to get the few groceries for this man. I earnestly pray for him, and for all of those who love and care for him. And, thanks for the wonderful idea to get him groceries, too.

@chaplaineliza

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