Nothing Changes Unless We Do

Based on a recent phone call, I am aware that my last post on seeing all people as precious brought up some stuff. So, here’s my response:

1) Yes, I am aware that most of us have driven past someone who is stranded on the road.

2) I don’t know anyone who gives money to everyone on the side of the road asking for it.

3) I do not expect to and know I cannot possibly help everyone I see who is hurting in some way or another, but…

4) I can do MORE to help make this world a better place every, single day.

We’ve spent months hearing the news regarding the Penn State sexual abuse scandal and then the devastating Colorado movie shootings last week. Every day, it seems there are tragedies that remind us that life is short and unpredictable and messier than we thought the previous day.

At the gym the other night, I wondered how many people were there trying to relieve stress. It’s ironic that the day’s headlines were plastered on practically every flat screen TV that spanned the enormous room. It seems even at the gym we can’t escape the negative yuck that is swirling around us. Sometimes, we may even feel like there is nothing good or safe or happy in the world. While we can’t ease everyone’s suffering or snap our fingers to take away pain, all hope is not lost.

My God calls us to love one another. There are big ways and small ways we can do this. Every day, choosing to make more of an effort to show love to people all around us proves that we can make a difference. All is not lost. There is hope. There is good in the world.

However, focusing on others is not always easy for me. I am polite. I smile and chat with strangers, but I am usually lost in my own thoughts, which sadly (but honestly) also usually have to do with me. So, this means slowing down my pace in the grocery store or wherever I happen to be and seeing with fresh, interested eyes all that is happening around me.

I heard someone say that nothing changes unless we do. So, here are some easy ways to spread kindness–randomly or not and potentially change someone’s day:

  • Write a thank you note for your mail carrier/ garbage collector and leave it in the mailbox or on top of your trash can/ recycling box (no stamp needed)
  • Buy a box of popsicles and share with those who are working outside on these terribly hot days
  • Open the door for someone
  • If you still write checks, scribble a quick thank you 🙂 in the memo section
  • Help someone load groceries into the car
  • Cut up some fruit and take it to a neighbor’s house/ apartment (it’s a great way to meet those living around you)
  • Write a quick note for your coworker, friend, significant other, or kids on a post-it (they’re inexpensive and you have a pretty good guarantee that it will stay where you leave it)
  • Give a stranger $5 just because
  • Smile

It’s interesting how helping others does something internally for us, as well. Giving someone else a tasty treat can also be a treat for you!

What are some ways you fight negativity and selfishness, in order to bring more love into this world?

*Image from Google

5 thoughts on “Nothing Changes Unless We Do”

  1. Jennifer,

    I thought your last post was great. I could feel the emotions you were feeling for I have been in similar circumstances.

    I think the times I have hesitated lately have more been related to I am afraid of losing something and most of the time it is time. “I don’t have time for that” pops into my mind. I’ll be late to where I am going. I think whenever we go somewhere we start an internal clock that keeps ticking and marking our progress towards our destination. It is hard to fight the clock in our mind sometimes. I know the times I have fought the clock and won and taken the time to help someone it has always been profitable. I think it has also taught my kids something over the years because they know I may stop to help someone even if we are late somewhere like the day on the way to church we stopped and helped someone with a car problem. I smiled to myself when our son came home and told how many people he pulled out of the ditch during a snow storm.

    I think God gives us opportunities to make a difference and we have to decide if we are going to take advantage of them. I know we can not do it all and it is appropriate to let someone else step up at times. I would however think that I have let more opportunities pass me by than I should.

    I think you are an encourager. The things you mention are things I believe encourage people. All great things to do. I do like writing people hand written notes. I try to do that at times with people I work with thanking them for how they go about their work. I also have left envelops on people’s car with cash that I notice could use some help with just a note to pass it on when they have the ability to do so. A phone call just to say hello to someone you have not spoken to in a while is nice. Making notes to remember special days for people you know and then acknowledging it to them is a nice touch. Giving a gift for no reason other than you wanted to and when you can tie it to something the person likes makes it all the more special. Congratulate people on their successes. I try to point out when a person does something good to others in their presence. I try to do that often for my kids.

    It is always a treat for me to do something for others.

    Like

  2. Mark,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about my post, as well as your kindness-spreading ideas. You must also be an encourager! 🙂

    I love that you are showing your children the importance of caring for others. For me, being in elementary education, it seems to be such a struggle to get some kids to see outside of their own little world. I think starting this when they are young make a difference for their future and the lives of others.

    Time definitely is a factor for all of us, and I think just slowing down enough to really see those around us makes a difference. I am trying to make an effort to do that every day, and it’s not easy!

    Thanks again for reading and for your kind words,
    Jennifer

    Like

    1. My daughter Jessi who is entering her third year teaching and is a middle school math teacher is certainly one who has taken up the torch to be an encourager. She has also tried to model behavior for her students to see. A story I love from last year about one of the students she had encouraged. A special needs child she had just taken an interest in and had talked to and eaten lunch with stopped by her room at the door one morning and told her he wanted to sing for her. He then went into the song Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and when he finished Jessi’s entire class room broke out into clapping for him… a very special moment.

      I encourage Jessi that I believe that her students will live up to her expectations of them and she needs to communicate that she thinks they can be great people and to look for times she can brag on them when they do something that shows that.

      Like

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