Posts Tagged With: service

That’s the Power of Love (#1)

I was helping a friend out recently.  For her it was a major event, something that required a ton of elbow grease or buckets of money. The money wasn’t so much there, so the man hours kicked in big time. Word went out that she needed some help and there it was. The Power of Love!

I might add she was grateful to tears for all the help, in its various manifestations.

“You don’t need money, don’t take fame

Don’t need no credit card to ride this train.” 

–Huey Lewis and the News

The collective power of a few or many doing some work is an awe-inspiring thing to see in action.

Red Barn

Red Barn (Photo credit: Kathleen Cavalaro)

Reminds me of a barn raising. One small farmer and his family trying to get a barn built would take a season or more. But bring in the entire community, men and sons wielding saws and hammers, lifting framework, hefting beams, literally raising the roof and the thing gets built in a day. Add in the support network of children carrying water and supplies, women bringing and preparing food and there’s even time for a dance at the end of the day.

The resulting barn is the goal, but the real outcome t is a community strengthened and empowered by a common goal, by working together, by sharing. That, my friend, is the real power of love.

I know we don’t do barn raising any more, at least not around here, but there are myriad chances for sharing, working together and accomplishing a common goal.

“The power of love is a curious thing

Make a one man weep, make another man sing

Change a hawk to a little white dove

More than a feeling that’s the power of love”

The person being helped is not the only one who benefits in this equation. Not hardly!

Change happens

Volunteering to help someone out can change you. The process of giving up some of your time, offering some of your skill, or using your hands in the service of someone else creates something new in you. I know it does in me.

Of course, you have to pay attention to what season in life you’re at. Maybe your offering of love is smaller and requires less time than someone else’s offering. The important part isn’t what’s given, but why it’s given.

Your sharing may not be seen by anyone, including the one you’re sharing with. That’s okay. You’re really the only one who needs to know what gift you’ve given or how you’ve helped.

Need ideas for how you can be a mini-volunteer on your crazy, busy schedule? Here’s a tiny list.

Pray for someone.

Write a note of encouragement.

Leave an apple or a candy bar on a co-worker’s desk.

Do an unexpected chore or errand.

Send a happy quote by text.

Share a hug or pat someone on the shoulder.

Give a compliment.

Got a little more time to spare? Here’s a few more ideas:

Bake some cookies for someone who’s could use a lift.

Donate blood.

Sign up to help with a small project.

Help serve dinner at a homeless shelter.

Donate a bag or box of canned goods to a food pantry.

Do you have a full day a week  or once a month to help out?

Google “Volunteer followed by  your town or city “and stand back.

I googled “Volunteer Phoenix” and found docents, tutors, camp counselors, parks and rec needs, animal rescue, AmeriCorp, music therapy, pet therapy, educational outreach, literacy outreach, and that was just the first couple of hits.

There are always opportunities to help out. Sign up!

Say yes! Just one time, let the power of love take hold and see what happens.

“But you know what to do

When it gets hold of you

And with a little help from above

You feel the power of love

You feel the power of love

Can you feel it ?”

Categories: Joy, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twenty Years From Now: A Letter to Myself

Dear Me,

I’m writing this letter to you today to let you know how far you have come in the past twenty years.  I know at this point in your life you’ll be looking back and flailing yourself with all your perceived shortcomings, missed opportunities, poor choices and heartaches.

Knowing this about you, I’m writing to remind you that you made two decisions that impacted your life and have made you the person you are. I’m certain you haven’t forgotten those decisions, because they shaped you in ways no other choices could have done.  To clarify and to help you feel better about where you’re at right now, I’m writing to remind you that these were your conscious choices.  You knew, at least to a small degree, what direction choosing such things would require.

The sacrifices have been worth it.  Whatever fell to the sidelines, whatever was left undone was as it needed to be.  It was part of the design you set for yourself when you put your feet on this path you now find yourself on.

The first decision you made was to choose people over things.

One of my favorite people!

Do you remember when you made that decision?  Probably not, it was a process, not a one-time thing.  You had found, through helping a few people along the way, in spite of how busy you were as a young mom, as a mom with teens, as a working mom, that reaching out and helping someone, even at the cost of something you wanted, was always the better choice.  The relief on another’s face was a balm in your own wounds.  The joy in a child’s eyes reflected back into your eyes.  The time sacrificed, again and again, always felt like the best expenditure of that time.

You were honest with yourself about the sacrifices that decision required.  Sometimes they hurt.  Sometimes giving was the last thing you wanted to do, but it had become who you were.  The tricky part, do you remember, was finding that tipping point when it was time to regroup, fill your bucket, shore up your own reserves, care for your tender worn spots, so that you could once again care for others.

That balance was not an easy thing to maintain.  The pendulum often swung wide to either side, excessive  giving to others, or a kind of self-indulgent, inward cocooning.  But you have worked at achieving a rhythm to your giving, your sharing, your service, and your self-care.  Now you can look back on your life of generosity and selflessness.  You should feel a sense of, not pride, no, not that, but of integrity.  You stuck to your decision to choose people first.

The other life decision you made seemed almost contradictory to the first one.  But, by time you read this letter, you will have made the two into proper companions, a perfect marriage of ideals. This decision, too, required sacrifices.  You set aside a sense of security and safety for a life of openness and sharing and of uncertainty.

the written word

the written word (Photo credit: paloetic)

You chose words.

That was a very deliberate decision on a very specific day.  You decided to honor that spark of creativity, intelligence and joy that burned so bright from your early childhood.

You chose to be the writer you wanted to be.  You chose words as your paint, words as your clay, words as your film, words as your musical notes.  Words gave life to all you saw, thought, felt, and experienced. Then you shared those precious words in as many ways as you could think of.

The people you loved will have known to their very bones, that you loved them.  You will have shown it, you will have said it.

Actions and words showed the world and yourself who you are and were.  Feel secure and sure in the way you have used your life.  It was well spent.

Regrets?  You probably have many.  But not about these two decisions.

People.

Words.

The best choices you ever made.

All my love,

Me

Categories: Relationships, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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