Recently I had a couple of knocks. Unexpected little things which on their own weren’t huge, yet added together felt heavy to bear. Like many of us, as I was in the trenches I didn’t necessarily know what I needed. If someone had asked me how they could help I would have had no response and likely told them I was fine and thanks for asking. I’d be grateful for the show of support and continue with my progress.
This isn’t what happened. The people present when things went awry just jumped in with things they knew they could do. As I moved through my challenges I was reassured and at peace knowing I had the support and things were being taken care of. It was a beautiful feeling I am SO very grateful for. The little things people did weren’t little, they were huge in those moments.
And then I took pause.
Have there been opportunities I could have embraced and acted upon? Have I noticed someone struggling and jumped in with some act of loving service which would make their burdens easier to bear? Or have I been at a loss and offered any support they may need as they come around to knowing?
My cousin and her family are a beautiful example of acting vs asking.
One sister relocated with a medical job at the beginning of this year. She was in a new town and hadn’t really had the opportunity to make friends when covid shut everything down. This meant no way to build a network and as a frontline worker, she was a witness to so much pain and tragedy. One sister decided to make masks and researched how to make them appropriate for the patients in the hospital. This was an effort to keep her sister safer as well as provide a little relief and love. Another sister figured out how to prepare meals and delivered them. This way they knew she was being nourished and would be healthier because of proper nutrition. Other people in the family pooled essentials for living so the Dr. could work and breathe knowing she was loved, provided for, and not alone, in spite of the situation.
They were all such an inspiration. The Dr. didn’t reach out and ask, the family just jumped in. They saw a need and filled it.
Right now there are a lot of people suffering. From COVID and wildfires to hurricanes and floods, there is a great need. There are also people reaching out to help provide a little relief. On the grander, immediate scale, I encourage us all to do what we can. Find a humanitarian drive to contribute to, make hygiene kits, donate old clothing and household goods. Find a place or person working on a relief effort and volunteer.
A friend of mine just started a drive. She is sending letters and emails to family, friends, and businesses asking for donations. Her goal is to fill a semi-truck to send to California for all of the displaced people. She’s looking for a donation location to distribute everything once it arrives which means she’s also raising funds for transport. There is a myriad of ways people can support her initiative.
She’s taking action.
Not only does taking action help the person we are serving, but it also helps the one serving. When we hear of hardship and tragedy it’s common to have a depression in spirit. A weight and feeling of helplessness with the question of “what can I do?”. If you find an answer to that question the weight often lifts as you find hope in the inspiration and motion of doing.
On a lifelong scale, I encourage us all to look and act. Make a meal, take some baked goods, take groceries over, send a card, mow a lawn, pull some weeds, wash some windows, any act of loving service can lighten the load and physically express our love and desire to support. And sometimes, just taking the moment to sit together is what makes the moments bearable. Nothing expected. The simple act of taking pause, leaving the “shoulds” behind, and holding space for peace and healing.
An old story of a death in a family comes to mind. One of the parents had passed which left the other with a few kids and challenging times ahead. The neighbor loved the family and had very little to give yet he very much wanted to support and love. After much thought, he did the one thing he could. He went to the home with his shoe polishing kit and polished all of the kids’ shoes so they could go to the funeral looking their best. And while working, he was able to be an angel of mercy, listening to anyone who needed an ear, being present so no one cried alone.
What is the one thing you can do in a time of need?
What opportunity can you grab, what opening can you fill, what service can you perform? What skill do you have which may be the light in an otherwise dark day?
I am so grateful for the human angels around me. For the many acts of love and service they provide. I strive to be like them. Acting on an impulse to ease another’s suffering is such a gift to have, to share, and to receive.
I pray we all look for the many gifts we receive and are inspired with opportunities to pay it forward.
I pray we can use these moments to spread love and kindness the world over.