Friday, March 28, 2008

Life Lesson #1 Just Do It

What is it about human nature that causes us to say things like, "Call me if you need anything" or "Let me know what I can do to help" or even something as simple as, "Gosh, I'm sorry. That's too bad". Believe me when I say I am guilty of this time and time again. I am sincerely trying to avoid these things and let me expand for further clarification.

Do any of these things really mean any thing? Are they really an expression of genuine emotion? Do they make a difference to the recipient of such phrases? Do they provide any element of comfort? Do they just seem like the right thing to say? Do they fill space and time or just make a situation less awkward? Then we follow up with things later like "So how are things going?" or "Have things been better?" Again, we say this things for the purpose of mere conversation? Is it out of curiosity or is it really concern? Do we REALLY want to know???

For the sake of having my glass half full I am more than willing to give man kind the benefit of the doubt and conclude that these are all well meaning words from the heart of well meaning people. Period. The reason this sticks out in my mind so much is because of my previous post related to my friend who has MS and the disappointment I feel from others surrounding her particularly at the office.

It suffices me to say that for the most part I am sure that it is a way for us to acknowledge the hardship of another. Frequently it is difficult to know what to say, to express ourselves or anticipate the needs of another. There are times when I think we really do mean it from the bottom of our heart. I also fully realize that often times it is better to say something than nothing at all but as well intentioned as this seemingly kind phrases may be they are completely void of action and hence are watered down orange juice in my perspective and verily seem to negate themselves.

No doubt that we all have also had these things said to us. I am willing to concede that again kind words are better than no words but have you ever really taken someone up on such an offer? Have you ever felt comfortable enough to really reach out and say, "Yes, I really do need help". My guess is that when it comes to a time of need these frequently spoken phrases by others are not forefront on our mind as a REAL sentiment. Perhaps that is also human nature and suddenly my glass may be half empty but I for one can tell you that I do not reflect upon these words during times of distress nor do they really provide any kind of relief. If your experience has been different please tell me.

So the next time you find yourself wanting to say one of the aforementioned phrases stop and think...just how sorry are you? Just how much do you mean it? Are you a warm meal sorry? Are you an afternoon sorry? Are you willing to sacrifice your time sorry? Do you care enough to make that extra phone call sorry? If you really want to make a difference than take action. The action does not have to be big or earth shattering but it is truly the action that makes the difference to another.

In my experience we often feel compelled to do something but don't really know what to do. We say these things because we don't know what else to say. It's easy to say that we are too far removed to do these things, that we don't feel comfortable, that we don't want to impose or that we have other plans. It's easy to think that we just don't have time or that we have our own problems to attend. Do we really have any idea how much it means to another to really have someone reach out for no reason other than to merely help? Do we really understand the impact that it has on another's heart?

I can tell you from personal experience that the altruistic acts of kindness that others have shown to me have been absolutely priceless. The Christlike service is something that have touched my heart, helped me more than I can express, made me a more humble person and helped me to understand the importance of helping others. Granted I am a veritable work in progress! The compassion that is shown, the sacrifice of another's time, thoughts and/or energy is the hope that shines brightly during times of difficulty.

Rather than consume myself with trying to understand what it all means, why it isn't the way I think it should be, etc I want to focus on really just being a better person because of those that have helped me to understand this Christlike virtue. Think upon the the times that you have had someone follow a random inspiration and proceeded with a small act of kindness. Rather, instead of thinking about it, JUST DO IT.

On the B Side: I am grateful for the opportunities I have to serve others. I won't say that it's easy, convenient or that it doesn't some times tear my heart out but I love making even a small difference in the life of another and I can tell you that it is during these times that I am not thinking or worrying about myself. I am also extremely grateful for those that have lovingly taken action to help me. The instances are without number and continue to teach me on so many levels. I can't tell you the countless times others have blessed my life without even knowing just how much it has made a difference and if you think about it I'm sure you could say the same. Christ was the ultimate example and lived His life as He would have us live ours. The difficulty is honestly doing our best and knowing that he will make up the difference in the midst of our trying-to-do-what's-right shortcomings.

2 shout outs:

Clancy in Idaho said...

Truth shines beautifully from your well written words. You are a poet in your expression. I love you.

Britta said...

and you must know that you are one of those many people in my life that continue to selflessly serve and bless my life! who else drives from idaho and spends an evening away from her family helping retard me pack/moce/clean until the wee hours of the morning??? YOU DO. and who was that sweet, bubbly girl that befriended me in logan when i didn't know a soul? the list goes on and on and you are wonderful!!! xxoxo