It doesn’t feel like the most wonderful time of the year. I feel like I’ve been riding an emotional roller coaster at the state fair after eating too much cotton candy. My head is spinning, my stomach aches and the tears are just too close to the surface. All I wanted to do this past weekend was sit in my closet and throw myself a little pity party. I knew for sure I did not want to dress up, put a smile on and be social….but my kids did, and my good friend was hosting the party…and I didn’t want to be the chump friend who wasn’t there to help.
I plastered my public smile on, reapplied some mascara and went out into the world in something other than my pajamas. Our little family of 5 sat down and I began to survey the room. While wondering how long we had to stay and hoping one of the kids would act up and we’d all have to go home, someone asked me to help serve food.
I’m sure you have all heard the adage that when life is hard you should loose yourself in service to others- and maybe you thought ya right, who wants my help when I’m just being a grouch. People, I am here to say all it takes is a willing heart. Because let me tell you how I spent Saturday evening serving ham and potatoes with a genuine smile on my face- making chit chat with those who came through my line. Feeling grateful to have something to do and knowing I was helping in some way. Not once did I think about myself, not once did I ponder on my own problems- I just served; both literally and figuratively.
I think God really wanted to underline the point of serving others for me because the next day in church were two beautiful, I mean beautiful, talks on kindness and service. About reaching beyond our own little circle of comfort and serving/showing kindness to everyone, for no other reason than they are our fellow men.
Serving didn’t solve my problems, it didn’t even change my perspective on them- but what it did do was provide a respite from thinking about them. I suppose one could say serving others is a form of self medication….seems a whole lot healthier than numbing my problems with alcohol or drugs. Maybe my motives for service are selfish (just hoping to feel better myself), but I don’t think that makes the acts of kindness any less valid.
It is easy to get lost in your own problems and think you have nothing to offer, but I’ll tell you what…service and kindness don’t always take money and grand gestures. Sometimes all it takes is a warm smile, sitting with someone who is alone, offering a kind word, a genuine question of “how are you?”, a simple text message saying “I’m thinking of you”.
Example is a powerful thing and I am so grateful for those I know who respond to the world with genuine kindness and an open heart. I’m grateful to see those example, because you cannot become what you don’t see.
I guess I am standing on my tiny internet platform and challenging you to reach out to others- do something today that improves the day of someone else, and I promise it will improve your day too.