“First find a path, and a little light to see by. Then push up your sleeves and start helping.” ~ Anne Lamott in Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
In the news everyday, headlines about scandals, murders, rape, fraud, deception and every other base activity grab our attention. But, if we take time to look, there are always small stories tucked away on the back pages about people helping. In reality, there are “helpers” everywhere! In our local paper this morning are stories about one suburban high school (My oldest granddaughter’s school) embracing 582 immigrant students (of the 1,031 total) speaking more than 35 languages from dozens of countries.
At a recent gathering my daughter, (a high-school English teacher and assistant girl’s throwing coach – discus, shot put, javelin) told of an anonymous donor who donated $170 throwing shoes to a student with great potential but who was wearing her older brother’s several-sizes-too-big-tennis shoes to compete. In our urban core, Habitat for Humanity houses are popping up everywhere. There’s an urban bicycle collective where kids and adults repair bikes two afternoons a week “so no child who wants a bike goes without one.”
They are planning an Urban Core Apple Orchard in an abandoned lot. The young people in our church raise money to buy mosquito nets to prevent malaria; other members provide backpacks and food to go in them for kids whose families are struggling; the prison ministry helps find jobs after release. There are people volunteering to raise puppies that will become service dogs, grandparents are helping in classrooms, cousins having a hot-dog cookout to help raise money for diabetes research, families are working together in a communal garden, and dozens more examples of people “pushing up their sleeves and helping.”
Each one of us has the ability to help someone else. Only when we do will we be truly fulfilled. We were created to help others. The ‘good life’ – the abundant life – has little to do with money. It has everything to do with helping. It has everything to do with sharing encouragement. We can all do that. Let’s all decide today to find at least one person to personally help. Maybe it’s just asking a newly divorced woman to go get coffee. Maybe it’s helping a young mother get her groceries and her kids across the parking lot. Maybe it’s volunteering or donating at SafeHome for abused mothers and children. Find your own niche. Let’s all be extravagant helpers today, and see how we feel at the end of the day!
“Tell those rich in this world’s wealth (all of us reading this on a computer) to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever imagine–to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.” I Timothy 6:17-19 (The Message)