Many of us are feeling useless right now, considering the recent bad news. We have heard about terrible things going on in the world: the destruction wrought by hurricanes, earthquake, fires, shootings and resultant deaths, suffering, anger, fear and other emotions that go with such horrors.
What can we do to help the loss, pain, fear, and tragedy of the world? Nothing it seems! We can not save others from the pain and suffering they are enduring. We as individuals do not have the money or ability to go somewhere to help them.
But we can do something where we are. If we are able we can help when the call goes out for blood donations, clothing, money or volunteers. But we can never directly decrease the suffering in the world. Most of us are not called to be missionaries or teachers or even volunteers. If we are called to those goals, that is great. But not everyone is called to the “highest service.”
But most of us make a difference serving “where we are planted.” We serve by making the world better by helping others, being kind, thoughtful, compassionate, polite, donating our time, money (when we can); even donating unneeded items to thrift stores that help those who need a helping hand. We all can make a difference in the lives of others everyday whether we are at home most of the day, on the computer, working, or eating out.
The other day I as I was leaving the grocery store, an elderly woman who was waiting to be picked up by her relative, collapsed as her daughter drove the car up to her. Within seconds one woman who was knowledgeable about emergency situations assessed her breathing and asked if she were hurt or having chest pain or shortness of breath.
I went inside to get a wheelchair or chair of some kind to get her off of the hot pavement and into the shade. Another woman was talking with the woman’s relative about calling EMS to come evaluate her. A very big, tall, strong young man came up and offered to help lift the lady into the chair just as it was brought out. I never saw such teamwork by a bunch of strangers who would never see her or each other again.
I felt such a wonderful feeling of pride in humanity, hope, and a sense that all will be well. If that many perfect strangers care enough for one helpless soul, who can do nothing for them, to use their time and energy to help her in this one event, how many more people are all around us who would help someone else in the same situation?
On Facebook as on this blog I try to post cute, funny videos, pictures, or positive, inspiring quotes to maybe help brighten someone’s day. I can not save the world, but I can light my little candle to make a little more light where I am. If someone else lets their candle shine, we have twice as much light. If one person helps brighten other people’s day, think of how many people can be affected by one person being kind, friendly, nice, polite or helpful.
I am one of many who are trying to provide a balancing force against the darkness in the world. I truly love and have compassion for those who are suffering and try to demonstrate that love. Sometimes the pain and sadness in the world weighs heavily on my mind and heart.
I have on occasion asked a customer service employee how their day has been. They often look shocked that someone acknowledged that they had feelings or were even human. Those who run the cash registers at large stores are especially surprised when a little concern for them as a human is shown, by a comment or question like, “Are you doing okay?” if they look sad or tired.
Part of my quest to brighten other people’s day includes hugs, smiles, or some kind of acknowledgement that they exist. I have many times seen a big smile when a person is given a genuine smile and eye contact. Whether they are feeling gloomy or just tired, sometimes a warm smile can light a little candle of hope for the rest of the day and remind them there are good people in the world.
One day I was at a stop light and saw a man with a sign asking for help. I didn’t have any money on me but looked around in the car for something that might make his life a little easier. I had a straw, cowboy hat in the back of the car and offered it to him to help keep the sun off of his face and out of his eyes.
He grinned really big and said, “Thank you, but I think it would look a lot better on you than it would on me.”
I hope he remembers that at least I acknowledged him and tried to give something to help. He at least may smile occasionally, knowing someone cared.
We all have helped someone who dropped something or had their hands full and couldn’t open their door. These are all perhaps minor activities of connecting with others but they may make a big difference in someone’s life. We are all part of the human family, regardless of our beliefs, culture, sex, religion or nationality.
We all have someone who loves us, cares for us, or just prays for us. (There are people who are praying for those who are suffering, confused, stressed out, afraid….).
Benjamin Franklin once penned:
“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”
A small thing like a smile or a brief contact between two people can make a difference. Maybe all someone needs is for one moment to be recognized as a being worthy of a smile, a nod, a hug, a comment, a compliment, or a kindness. Do What you can, where you are with whatever you can use. If all else fails, show that you care.
Be the nail that saved the shoe, that saved the horse, that saved the rider, that saved the battle, that won the kingdom. You matter!!