My friend and contractor, Josh, is the salt of the Earth; a sweet, gentle, bear of a guy. One day he was at the house, working on our kitchen. A friend had been visiting, and when she left I gave her a card with a little cash in it to help out; she was having a tough time.
She must have driven down the road a while before she opened the card, and she came back, ran into the house and gave me a big, tearful hug. No words. We were both crying. And then she left.
He looked at me quizzically, and I said “Just helping a friend.” And he said “That’s how it should be; we should take care of each other – take care of the people around us.”
I try to always remember what he said, because he is so right.
Right now it feels like there is a deep awareness of sacrifices; much is falling apart and a new reality is being created. All around us, there is tremendous need. People in our community need money; food; help with the very basics of life. You may want to help and think “how?” Remember, each and every moment, every day, you have something to offer to others, even if it’s not cold hard cash.
It can be such a blessing to offer to cook a meal for someone; to watch a small child for a neighbor while they run an errand or go to the doctor. To mow the grass or plant some flowers for someone who cannot do it for themselves.
It is so simple to smile at everyone. To put down your cellphone and speak to the cashier who helps you with your groceries. To write a note of thanks to a teacher,a mentor, or a relative.
There is pain and suffering all around the world, but there is also pain and suffering right outside your door. We all can’t drop our lives and go feed the hungry in a foreign country. But we can serve a meal at our local soup kitchen. We cannot always send money to repair cleft palates in India, but we can provide toothbrushes to homeless students at the local high school. We might not be able travel to the Brazilian rain forests to save an animal from extinction, but we can go cuddle the pets at the SPCA.
We can use our collective energies to visualize a world at peace; to send light and loving thoughts to the troubled, the hungry, the frightened. We can pray and meditate for others, for the troubled people of Japan, for the wildfires in Arizona; and also for ourselves. So that we can become a beacon of hope, a rock of stability – for friends, for neighbors, and for anyone we meet along the path.
Two minutes, ten minutes, a couple hours, a weekend; the simple offering of your time and talent can change not only another person’s destiny, but your own.
Little things really do mean a lot.