“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” Dalai Lama
“Through our willingness to help others we can learn to be happy rather than depressed.” Gerald Jampolsky”
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” Audrey Hepburn
So many of us merely exist, and we focus on when we’ll die instead of living. We wonder constantly where we are going. Likely we would not recognize where we wanted to go. We make more plans than ever before, yet accomplish less. We set goals we never reach, and worry about insignificant issues. We fear what might happen, worry about what we have already done, dread what others think about us, yet never contemplate what we think about ourselves. Outwardly we brag about our accomplishments, inwardly we are insecure. Our good times are spoiled with thoughts of what is wrong or missing about the setting. But we refuse to appreciate what is right and happy about our environment.
I see a pattern. We focus on the negative and wallow, almost enjoying our unhappy situation. If we can’t stop to view the special beautiful moments of our existence, life will always exhibit the misery and pain. I recently watched on the news, a story of a homeless man who was given a hundred dollars. It was a test to see what he would do with it. Unbeknownst to him, the camera people followed him around and saw him enter a liquor store. They were ‘aha’ just as they expected. He came out with two huge bags and headed for a park, where there were other homeless people. To the news casters surprise, instead of liquor, he began taking all kinds of food from his bags. He spread it on about three different tables, in three different areas of the park, for others to share. It ended up becoming a totally different ending to the story, than was anticipated.
I call this doing or living, rather than planning to die. He didn’t lament the situation he or any others were in. He simply did something quite powerful, in the name of humanity. He had so little himself, yet he was willing to share the tiny amount that he had. Nobody could plan such a revelation. There was an addition to the story a couple of days later. Upon hearing of his efforts, people donated over ninety thousand dollars, for him to use at his own discretion. What a powerful story.
How hard it is for us to find ourselves. We for the most part, all want to help others and be of service. We just don’t always know where to begin. I guess it is best to begin in our own back yards. Within our homes and communities we can easily find ways to make a difference. It seems that confusion time and energy kick in, and defeat our good intentions. We planned on volunteering, yet the kids got sick and that ended that. Whatever the problems, at times we get way-sided.
Perhaps the strange thing is, that even a simple gesture of support within our own homes, can produce the magic of serenity in another person’s heart. It may also afford peace to our own heart. We don’t have to be angry with ourselves about what we are doing or not doing. Loving those within reach, just like the homeless man did, is sending well wishes, joy and comfort to others. Of course it boomerangs back to us. Doing a spouse’s job around the house, or offering supportive conversation can be as much of an uplift to someone, as any outside effort we can muster. Perhaps we forget that those closest to us need encouragement at times. Making a difference in the world may begin within our own environments.
The more we get used to accomplishing small efforts of care to others, the easier it gets to take on larger tasks. The important thing is to begin. If anyone can recall how tired they felt after cooking a big meal for a lot of people, they will understand the thankfulness they felt upon receiving some help with the cleaning. What a good feeling. Simple acts renew one’s spirit. That person in kind, can pay it forward. If we are never helped, we might become defeated and useless to others. Therefore we can never underestimate the power we have to change situations, simply by supporting those around us. Those people we help, may go forward and aid others, having regained their own peace through our efforts.
Trying to take on more than we can handle, causes us to do nothing. It isn’t about showing others how great or important we are, nor how much we can handle, or assist. In any large or small event, it is the love put into it that counts, and that gives rise to the happiness. Just as we can’t always explain why we feel mixed up, and anxious, we also can’t always explain why some small act of care, fills us with a renewed spirit of joy. The small unimportant things, have great meaning.
There was no mention of thanks from the people who received the free food from the homeless man. Maybe they said thanks. If they didn’t, that did not mean they were not thankful. As hungry as they were, they attempted to wait until the homeless man had finished placing everything on the table, before grasping for food. Not one person grabbed at anything. The giver of the food, didn’t require a thank you. He swiftly moved from table to table. He obviously understood their thanks was the warmth in their hearts and smiles. We underestimate how often every day, we can spread kindness by our actions.
Instead of constantly being aware of the pain in our hearts, and the frustration and confusion about how to be a good person, we might transfer our microscope outward and focus on the plight of others. There is likely a needy person in all of us, on any given day. We actually improve our findings, as we learn to clearly look and observe. I have found that the jealousy, anger, and frustration dissipates. We see a whole person with their praiseworthy qualities, as well as those less than admirable qualities. Perhaps they are working on improving their virtues.
When we search for the humanity in others, we find our own humaneness. Helping others, can keep us from becoming involved in negative activities. It can also focus our attention on the positive, rather than the negative, which perhaps controls our fear and anxiety. One doesn’t have time to wallow in self problems, when we are too busy concerning ourselves with living, and supporting those in need. On a clear day we can relish our efforts, to make positive changes for others. Mother Teresa once said, “We can’t always do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” We will come to realize suddenly, that we are not simply existing, but executing, through our living, a better life for others, and a more fulfilling life for ourselves.
“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.” Saint Augustine
“A Christian reveals true humility by showing the gentleness of Christ, by being always ready to help others, by speaking kind words and performing unselfish acts, which elevate and ennoble the most sacred message that has come to our world.” Ellen White
“You feel alive to the degree that you feel you can help others.” John Travolta