Try and Trying
Jan 10 -11
The older gentleman pointed to the young mother and then, kneeling, asked her toddler: “Is that your mommy?” The child nodded yes and the man continued. “I knew her when she was your age. Is she a good mommy?” The child solemnly looked at the man and then at her mother before answering. “She’s trying.” Everyone in the vicinity smiled and gave a loving look at the child’s answer. Then the young girl continued: “Her’s very trying.”
In an effort to be all we can be, as we make the valiant attempt to try to be our best, we sometimes find ourselves being trying to others. So how do we accomplish our goals without being irritating, annoying, or, worse – failing? As we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. next Monday, perhaps we should listen to some of his words.
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” In this twenty-first century social media craze where it seems the winner is the one with the best tweet, we need to take a moment and realize that having a snappy comeback works for about ten seconds only. It really will not accomplish anything lasting and it certainly will not build bridges that will allow us to cross into a productive future. We need to create relationships built upon respect and purpose, not simply spend all our time building up our own egos.
“We must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.” Respect again becomes the verb we need to use as our modus operandi. Whatever material things a person has, their appearance or socioeconomic level really matters very little. When we surround ourselves only with those who are just like us, then we box ourselves in and limit our ability to grow. Our roots need room to grow and new experiences in order to help us develop fully, both as individuals and as nations and the world.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” A life lived selfishly is a life half-lived. Being of service to others does not limit your own being, it expands it. We’ve discussed the benefits of volunteering over the past four years but perhaps we need to refresh our memories. Those who spend time helping others are healthier physically and emotionally. You may think you haven’t the time but really you need to find that time. Your life really might just depend upon it.
A decade ago businesses were encouraged to allow workers to donate time to local schools to serve as mentors for young readers. Those participating in the programs would spend two hours a week at a local school having children read to them, helping as needed to sound out words. While reading scores were improved, so was the health of those volunteers. The volunteers reported less stress and an overall happier sense of self. They began to care about their own personal health and without even realizing it, adopted better lifestyle practices which resulted in a lower healthcare cost for the businesses involved in the program. The loss of two hours of productivity from being away from their job site was more than compensated for by the higher productivity of the happier and healthier employees.
Anyone can do it. No, that is not a quote from Dr. King but it is the summation of what he preached and the dream he lived and hoped to achieve for all. AS Dr King reminded us: “Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace; a soul generated by love.”