Eights Ways a Week
If you are new to this blog, allow me to explain what it is not. It is not a guide book on relationships, although it is about our relationship with ourselves, each other, and the world. It is not a how-to book on anything but we do share recipes, tips, gardening advice – both in planting actual plants and in sowing the seeds of peace and friendship. This blog has six major themes per year, with those six divisions being labeled the names of the liturgical seasons in the Episcopal calendar. The reason for this is simple: I knew this calendar and it was easy. Postings to this blog, however, are not strictly Episcopal nor are they even Christian. There is a great emphasis in this blog on exploring each individual’s spirituality and whether that includes a religious component is strictly your decision.
We are currently in the season of Pentecost and this year our theme for Pentecost, often called the Ordinary Time, is all about making the ordinary extraordinary. I am not talking about adding a little bling to your wardrobe or bedazzling your favorite notebook or boots. I am talking about making your everyday living something better, broader, and more far-reaching. Each of us impacts those we pass in our daily living. During this series we are discussing how to make that impact a positive one. By making a few changing for the better, we can improve our relationships, feel better about ourselves, sow the seeds of goodness and peace, and make new friends. It really does not require a huge bank account and often involves things we do every single day.
Most of us have seen the news articles about philanthropists and wished we could be one. Giving is a great thing to do and leaves the giver with positive feelings as well. For many of us, though, we haven’t a huge bank account we can spend at leisure. We’ve discussed programs like Pennies for Change and yes, even a penny can make a huge impact. However, there is something we can all give and that is love, gratitude, and compassion. Share some today!
Another thing we can all share is a smile. Never underestimate the power of a smile. Recently I shared a smile emoticon with someone online. They had posted something in a group to which I belong and I thought it clever and funny so I commented with a smiley face. Two days later this person told me they were on the verge of “quitting everything” but that one smiley face seemed to beg them to stop quitting and keep on living. Who knew the power of one smiley face emoticon?
Today I am foregoing my usual coffee shop coffee for a cup at home. I used that money yesterday when eating lunch. Currently the restaurant chain Mellow Mushroom has a campaign going where if you donate $5 USD to a food organization feeding hungry kids, you get a coupon for a free pepperoni pizza, a pizza that costs more than that $5. That $5 USD will actually pay for fifty – 50 – meals for fifty hungry children. Pay double for your own coffee if you can and tell the cashier it is for the person in line behind you. By having my coffee at home, I get to sleep in and leave a little later. Paying it forward gained me some extra sleep!
Give or help even when you haven’t been asked. Find yourself at the end of the month with a few extra dollars to spare and share? Donate them to an agency like the American Red Cross even when there has not been a huge emergency. Groups like the Red Cross help people every single day. Offer to help a friend who is cleaning out their garage or if going to a party, offer to bring something.
Remember you are a unique creature, one out of many, but that you are one in many. We all leave footprints wherever we go. Watch a crime drama and you will learn just how hard it is to exist without leaving trace amounts of our presence. Believe in yourself and that your footprint can make a difference and create positive change. One mankind could not imagine a round planet or being able to travel from one side of a country to another. Now we send astronauts to a space station orbiting that planet. Anything possible and you can be an element of change for the betterment of all.
Share your happiness in those around you. In other words, let people know you believe in them and have faith in them. No one is immune from self-doubt. We all experience it. Dreams become reality because someone believed in them. Everyone is worth something. I really truly do believe in that. Let those with whom you share space know they matter to you. Whether it be family, coworker, neighbor, or friend you just met, let them know you believe in the goodness of their existence and being and, more importantly, in their future.
This will require you taking the time to listen to those people and then giving them some of your time. I have a friend who is having surgery that will require them wearing a sling. I did get a get-well card but then decided to decorate a sling for them. The fabric is a cartoon print and is not designed to provide medical care but to bring a smile to my friend’s face. Recently a child told me their favorite author. While this child was talking to me I saw that very book on a used book sale shelf. There are no words to describe the enormity of the smile on that child’s face when I gave them that book. For twenty-five cents, I had created a special moment. However, in their thank you, the child not only thanked me for the book but for listening “to me like I was somebody.” We are all somebody. Give the somebodies in your life some time and listen to their dreams, please. It will be the best thing you give yourself.
This brings me to something we have discussed before but it does bear repeating. Share gratitude. Be sincere in your thank you but take the time to give one. A sincere compliment is the least expensive and most impactful thing you can offer someone. It goes beyond just mere words. A thank you from the heart is a gift from our core and lets someone know they have made a difference in your life. After all, what goes around and is shared comes back around to us.