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Monday, June 17, 2013

Gratitude, helping hands, and growth

Life again reminds me of how blessed I am, even if society tells me that I have little and am "poor".   I look around and I know that I am rich.  As we were driving home yesterday from the kids visiting my ex, there was a man at the end of the exit ramp from the highway.  He was holding a sign that said "living on a prayer...please help!"  At first I just drove by him, ignoring like everyone else does, with those cynical thoughts that judge the man and his actions or the decisions that might have led him to this point of begging for help on the side of the road.  And as my heart tugged, and my spirit protested, I realized that I was being "just like everyone else" in judging a person I did not know, and deciding that he was not worthy.  I realized that I know nothing about this man, his history, his life experiences, or what he thinks and feels.  

But I do know what it is like to be very down on my luck, to have made choices that have created scarcity and lack in my life, and to be stuck in patterns of thinking  or behaving that have made it difficult to rise above the challenges of life.  And I know how amazing even a kind word or an offering of understanding and/or help is when in that situation.  The gratitude that I have felt from those who reach out with kindness, compassion and love...that has given me the strength to keep going when life felt hopeless, and to being to long, arduous climb out of the despair  pain, and challenges that I had been facing. 

While some people did not like how long it took, or the path I took as I regained my footing in life, or gave up before they gave me the time to find my feet, it is okay, because their generosity and care DID make a difference even if they did not have the patience to wait and see it as it grew.  From kind words and shared stories of strangers on the bus, in the park, or from customers I was waiting on, to the gifts of a place to live, a warm meal, or funds to pay my bills, every gift of compassion, every act of love made a difference in my life.  

Regardless of where someone is or how they got there, all people deserve love and compassion, even if it seems to be not helping, I guarantee that NO act of love is missing its impact.  Every act of love makes a difference, even if it takes a while for that seed of love and care that you plant to blossom in the person you plant it in.  And it is not up to you or I how that seed blossoms, you do not always know what flower or plant will come from it, and you do not know the path that is best for any other person, including your siblings, parents, or even your children.  Act with love, compassion, and care, and every person will benefit.  Because acts of love, no matter how small, bring healing to even the most broken soul, even if their anger or pain gets in the way of them embracing it right away.  Do not judge the path they are on, the path they have taken in the past, nor the path they take in the is THEIR path, just as your path is your own.  Everything you give of yourself and your resources affects the world, give gifts worthy of your soul...and keep judgement for your choices of the melons in the grocery store.