For the past thirty-four days, we have discussed helping others. We’ve lightly and briefly looked at the lives of over forty humanitarians and how they have made the world a better place. Some were famous people and others known only to their friends and associates. Many used everyday situations and sought to make them better. Others simply saw a need and tried to find solutions. Some were high school dropouts and others were very learned in their fields. All were born into the family of mankind.
I hope you know by now how much I dearly appreciate and read your comments. Today, as we close this series, I thought I would address three which really stood out to me during our discussions on this set of blog posts in which the emphasis was on manifesting what we believe by living our faith.
The first comment I will address was a question concerning last year’s Epiphany theme with the year’s. “Is it more important to create something or to be a humanitarian?” Last year’s Epiphany theme was on the epiphanies of history – the inventions that impacted our daily living and often go unnoticed. One that especially stands out to me was the botanist who invented the pencil. Needing a quick way to record the various plant families he was cataloguing, he decided to incorporate graphite encased in a thin, wooden tube crayon instead of carrying around a pen and inkwell.
To me both of these themes are very similar, the difference in the two being more a matter of perspective rather than definition or importance. A humanitarian create a better today and tomorrow and certainly that is as important as developing a new way to write notes on paper.
The second comment was…well, let’s just say it was not applause. However, I do appreciate it because those naysayer comments make me think and keep me honest and focused. “I am someone who needs help so how could I possibly be a humanitarian?” Thank you for being honest. Quite frankly, I think most of us have felt this way at some point in our lives.
We are all victims, affected and impacted by the life situations we encounter. At some point and in varying degrees, something unpleasant has happened to us. Lailah Gifty Akita explains: “We all get knocked down in life. Encouragement lifted our spirit.”
Victimhood should not be a destination and the quickest way to avoid making it such is to help another. We all have something to offer and the world joyfully accepts our goodness. When we give kindness to another, we celebrate kindness to ourselves. Our actions not only create a smile on someone else’s face, they create a smile in our own hearts and on our souls. Simply put, when we help another, we help ourselves.
Our final comment to discuss is from a young adult (self-described). “What is the hardest thing about becoming a humanitarian?” What a great question! Thank you! In a word…surrender. Let me explain by reviewing what a humanitarian is. In spite of all the publicity and awards that often accompany the word “humanitarian”, the definition is quite simple and applies to all sorts and conditions of mankind. A humanitarian is someone concerned with the welfare of others, a person who, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “works to make other people’s lives better.”
A favorite quotation of mine came one day in an email from www.thedailyquote.com. “Surrender all that no longer serves you. Let all that remains buried in your heart come to the surface and be healed. Let there be peace for new energies to enter. A new beginning transforms darkness to light.”
When we are a humanitarian, we are not only living our faith by manifesting it through our actions, we are creating the future. We are able to do this by living the first word of the above quote – surrender. Surrender is a verb that propels us from living in the past, allow us to work in the present, and createa better future.
The humanitarian does not have tunnel vision, seeing only his/her own reflection. The humanitarian sees the family of mankind standing alongside him/her. He/She knows life is not about the individual but about the whole of creation.
Tomorrow we will begin a new series, Lent 2016. Historically, the Lenten season is a time of sacrifice, sacrifice for the purpose of growth. The theme for our series this year will be personal growth. Life can be a scary proposition, even at the best of times. Daring to help another can be risky but nothing is harder than when we commit to growing ourselves.
Bestselling author Sonia Ricotti offers this simple guidance: “Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.” Laissez les bons temps rouler – Let the good times roll on this last day of Epiphany and share a smile.