It’s 4:30 am, two weeks before Thanksgiving and as is God’s usual habit with me, He has gently awaken me to say, I have something I want you to say and the time is now Janice. I have learned that no amount of dismissal is going to dissuade the Almighty, so I gladly now come to my office and write.
“Be The Blessing” began with an email from a dear friend who simply wanted to reconnect. The condition of my friend so shocked me, I was very concerned for the rest of the day, through the night and this morning at 4:30 am, God impressed upon me write this piece as so I wrote: “Be The Blessing”.
What does it take to “Be The Blessing”? Nothing really, anyone can “Be The Blessing” by simply acting on what they dismiss every single day of their lives. I know this to be true because I have seen it with my own eyes. Look around you and observe what is going on. You will notice people walking by a person with a sign, asking for help and there is that “moment” when they empathize and immediately disconnect. There is the is homeless person on the street whom you pass every day and you almost trip over him and you pretend not to see, but you know full well he has been there for years. Then there is the battered women’s shelter you have read about in your community newspaper which you skim you think: “…oh, that’s nice…” and toss into the recycling bin. You attend Sunday services, and they are asking for volunteers to serve holiday dinners, but your calendar is already full. The bright golden rod flier comes home in your child’s backpack asking for cans of food for their annual Thanksgiving food drive for families in need and you toss in some things you no longer need into the brown paper bag, and check another donation off your list, and you think you’ve done your part. In the check-out line at the grocery store you toss a few items in the big round barrels and feel good about “helping out”. Yes, you helped out, but the face of need, never lifted up, never looked upon, never truly loved, never truly blessed;… rather “checked off your list”. We are all guilty here, me included…..too busy to truly Bless another human being!
All of these things have something in common; do you know what they are? “Thoughtlessness”. We have become callous and turned a blind eye and sometimes a momentary twinge may cross our hard heart and a bargain can of something we have 4 of we donate and we think, “I am really doing someone some good,” but are we really, lifting up and edifying a person who really needs help?” We know the answer….NO.
Then the real question becomes: “How do I learn how to: “Be The Blessing”?” I truly think, we have to learn this all over again, and soften our cold hard hearts. We have become polarized, we have become entrenched in our separate camps, we each think whatever we think is the right way to do things is the way things should be done and those in need, need to be taken care of in a certain way and we have taken the decision out of their hands and taken the liberty and freedom away from them and we say to them: “…we know what’s best for you, so we will tell you what you can have, where you will go, where you will sleep, how much you may have, and so on…” rendering their lives a living nightmare, and their ability to get back up on their feet virtually impossible. We have not only taken away their options, we have allowed their hands to be tied, their feet to be bound, stuffed a sock in their mouths, made a labyrinth of tangled web of confusion and so complex literally no can navigate the life created for them. Their dignity is totally stripped from them. As a result their spirit sinks, and their hope drains from their bodies, those once sparkling blue eyes, warm brown eyes, green eyes that drew me in, are now dull and sullen. The smiling face that greeted us now looks only at the sidewalk and shuffles in a broken cadence. Do you know who did that? “WE THE PEOPLE” DID THAT!
Janice, that is not true, your voice rises up in protest! No, my friend, it is all too true, for I have seen it with my own eyes. It has happened to a dear friend of mine. I will not dishonor the memory of my friend here, but it is true and it has torn at the very fabric of my being to see how this once vibrant individual spiraled down into a broken, homeless, ill, shell of a person that I once knew as a success functioning contributing healthy member of society in the community they once lived in. Once this person entered into government assisted “help”, everything went south. All the so called wonderful offerings to help make life after a certain age became a death trap, and the spiral began. After just paying the basic living expenses, and medical bills with no phone, no cable, no internet, no cell phone, none of what we deem essentials…..less than $200 was left to live on for a month and no qualification for other government programs because of the trap this individual was in. The rules prevented this person from earning any money otherwise, you must repay a “fine” upwards of $50K and you lose your generous housing arrangement with them.
Janice, this just cannot be the case, I have never heard of such a thing! Well, it is the case. And this isn’t the only person I know in such a pickle. You see when we get in a position where we have to make a decision in a hurry and we do not have the information we need, the resources to explore our options and someone who can help us navigate the whitewater, what looks like the best option is sometimes the worse solution to our situation. I do not profess to know the rules, options, regulations in this person’s life, nor anyone else’s nor what is out there. I only know what was before my eyes and the brokenness in front of me.
Could you survive on less than $200 for an entire month for just yourself or you and your spouse or you and your family? That $200 has to cover your medication, your food (sorry, day old and canned everything, never anything fresh it’s just too expensive – result you lose 50+ lbs in a year …illness creeps into your life), clothing (oh, nope, you’ll have to do with what you have on your back or what you brought in with you), credit card bills (if you still have them when you had a life and you have used them to pay for your insurance on your beat up car, gas to get where you need to go because there is not public transit, and for emergencies) and there is nothing left….
Winter is here….you are now 50 lbs. lighter than last year, your clothing is hanging off of you. Most of us do not know what that feels like, much less looks like. Although we all dream of being 50 lbs lighter, when you are under weight to begin with on a 6’ frame 50 lbs lbs is a lot to lose. Gaunt and ashy is what I saw. The cold bites at your bones. The coat you had which is corduroy doesn’t provide any warmth; it merely flaps and acts as a sail for the biting wind. The pants which fit you two years ago now are like two wind tunnels where snow funnels up on you thin legs.
I was truly in tears….is the picture painted clearly enough for you. I do not exaggerate in the least here. I truly had to turn away. Now I am a bold woman and I tend to take matters into my own hands for those I care about, even strangers and when God says “Do It” I have learned not to look away and not to walk on by. I acted.
What do you do?
“Be The Blessing” is your opportunity to bless the person upstairs, across the hall, living next door, in the cubicle beside you, the person in the line behind you, to help the family holding the cardboard sign in the median of your local shopping center, the local woman’s shelter, in your place of worship, where ever your live, work and breathe!
Do you know that “WE”, “WE THE PEOPLE” can do more good than all the government programs and all the checks that any agency can hand out for “WE THE PEOPLE”! You, your family, you, you the CEO, you the business owner, you the church, you the neighbor, you the local chamber, you the local YMCA, you the local garden club, you the empty nester, you the computer geek, you the stay at home mom, you the jet setter, you the grocery checker, you the owner of the dry cleaning business, you the local plumber, you the local landscaper, you the online entrepreneur, you the local trainer who is helping people lose weight, you the physical therapist, you the doctor who knows who these people are and sees them every day, you the radio talk show host, you to blogger, you the limo driver, you the bus driver, you soccer coach, you the person who is looking for your occupation to be here and you don’t see it YOU
Do not wait to be invited; do not wait for a holiday, in fact what about doing it on the fourth Thursday of every month. “Be The Blessing Thursday” for instance, or “Be The Blessing in January, February, March….and so on” Each person in your office could take a week, a month, a fourth Thursday and so on.
Janice, I don’t have any idea what to do! Now you’re talking! Guess what, the people who know me, love me, because I am known as the “Idea Queen” once I get started, I do not have an off switch! First choose whom you will “Be the Blessing” to. Oh you need ideas there to. No problem: here you go:
- The person upstairs
- The neighbor next door
- The neighbor behind you
- The neighbor across the street
- The person who lives downstairs
- The person works in the cubicle next to yours
- The next two people who are in line behind you
- The next three cars behind you in the drive thru
- Next time you are standing in line and there is a parent with screaming children, pay for them. PERIOD
- Check out how many shelters are in your town and go and ask them what they need. Don’t call, go there! Take a buddy, then do something every single month!
- Look in your local community newspaper, those ones which come in the mail and see what’s actually going on and call the people who are working in your community, those are the people who know the people who really need help. Then go and help
- Local realtors also are in the community and know local suppliers who know people who need help
- Our men and women who have served our country need help PERIOD and those who are serving. If you live near an military facility, or a VA hospital, or know a Vet lend a hand, your back, your time, your truck, your car for a ride, your expertise, your love, your ear, your childcare for an afternoon, make dinner, buy groceries and drop them off, buy a Christmas tree, toys, do something, say THANK YOU, I APPRECIATE YOU AND YOUR SERVICE FOR ME AND OUR COUNTRY. Tell their spouse and their children- “Thank you!”
- Go to your local fire department in your local community, they always know who needs help. Families who have suffered a fire or emergency always need help.
- Local clubs also know and have ways for you to lend a hand.
- Local scout troops are always looking and needing help for causes they are involved in
- If you are in business, YOU have clients, and YOU know them and YOU know that since 2008, many of them are out of jobs, are no longer in their homes, have lost their businesses, and YOU KNOW people who need your help, I dare say you probably know more than 100! My guess is you have turned a blind eye. YOU may feel sorry for them, but you have slowly, turned around and moved on. I am turning YOU back around and telling YOU that YOU need to reach out your hand and help. It is not every man, business for him or herself.
Are you beginning to get the idea here? I could go on and on. The obvious ones are the obvious ones, YOU know what YOU should do, I hear your conscious yelling from here. So do something already!
Big Causes, are wonderful and I’m not saying don’t help them, they are great. I am talking about getting in and helping another person heart to heart, in a 1 to 1 way and making a difference in a more personal way. It requires you to give of YOURSELF, not anonymously through your debit card. To me, that’s not really helping, that’s placating your conscious.
Now, here are the ideas on how to “Be The Blessing”:
- As you choose your fresh fruit, buy an extra bag of apples, oranges or bananas and give them to an elderly person in your neighborhood
- Is every seat at your holiday table full, invite someone who is dining alone.
- Here’s a novel idea, have a Sunday meal together as a family (like a century ago) reignite a tradition and invite guests!
- If you are making an pie, cake or anything else this week, make two and give it to your neighbor upstairs, next door, behind you, or take it into the office and give it to a single parent
- Making a casserole this weekend for the week ahead, make two and do the same as above
- Buying gift cards this year buy two and wrap the second up even nicer than the one you are giving to your family member and take it to your local shelter and give it to the first person who make eye contact with you
- If you no longer have children at home, and love those movies about children and the holidays and wish you could go out and buy toys, do it and then wrap them up and take them to a battered women’s shelter and just experience how great you feel afterwards
- Do you know how many of our fathers and mothers are completely forgotten on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in Senior Care facilities all around the US? What would happen if you went in there and just asked: What do you need every Saturday and DID IT? With no expectation of how much it cost or what the request was. You might be very surprised.
- This same thing goes for other days of the year! In all types of other facilities.
- Again here also, there are so many obvious ideas of what you can do and you know in your heart what these are. If you are buying for yourself, buy two, give one away to someone just like yourself. There is someone just like you, your age out there who needs what you are buying.
- If you are donating something to a cause, go out and buy one new and donate it too!
- If you are buying a present for any reason to give this entire year to anyone, buy two and wrap it beautifully also and give it as a joyful blessing to someone else to be a surprise for them.
- What would happen if you went into a retirement community dining room and decorated the entire room as a wonderful birthday party, complete with party hats, blowers, favors, games, lots of colorful balloons, a big cake, presents brightly wrapped, a magician, great music and smiling faces in the middle of a dull winter afternoon and you sent beautiful invitations to all the residents and the doors of the dining room were wrapped with a big bow and when all the residents were assembled the bow was cut and the guests entered! You and your birthday helpers helped the birthday guests to their seats and photos were snapped, and the sheer delight on the faces would be felt all the rest of the year! How great would that be!?
Repeat, Repeat, and Repeat in every type of location you can think of. Is it brain surgery…….NO…..would it mean the world to those who received it YES……..who does it take to “BE THE BLESSING” It takes…….
Would you do me a huge “Blessing”? Let me know what you did and send pictures!
Now here is the “Blessing For You”! In physics there is this principle that for every action there is an equal action. This means that if you push something or do something to something it pushes back. (My apologies to all you quantum physics PhD’s for assaulting your minds) So when you do something for someone else, you will begin to feel really warm inside, a smile will magically spread on your face, your back will straighten and you will feel humble and want to do it again, and again, and again. And I encourage you to do it every month, not through a check (which is very impersonal), but rather in person, face to face, and make that human contact and show another human being that someone care for them, and that they are not forgotten, and you will receive “The Blessing for You” and you will “Be The Blessing”.
Who does it take to “Be The Blessing”?….All it takes is: Y-O-U!