“Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”
Have you ever started the day in a positive mood then you meet someone very irritable saying, “This is going to be an awful day I just know it.” Suddenly your positive mood starts to diminish. Then you meet a person who is depressed. They tell you how sleeping has become difficult because they have broken up with their boyfriend. Before you know it, now your positive attitude has all but disappeared. You look at yourself and ask, “What happened? I was in a good mood this morning.”
It reminds me of a ripple in the pond when you throw in a rock. The ripples become larger and larger. The good thing is the ripples also become larger and larger when you assume a positive attitude.
Suppose you say to a co-worker,” Thank you for your hard work yesterday. I want you to know that I realize how you really helped complete the project.” Or, “Sue, you make me look forward to coming to work. Your positive attitude motivates our whole program.”
You may ask how we can have a positive attitude. Of course it’s impossible all the time. However, we cannot allow negative feelings to prevent us from bringing the light within us to others. I try to remember that each person I meet today is not only Jesus’ Beloved, but has Jesus living within them. In a sense, I am meeting Jesus.
This year, plan how you might bring hope to everyone you meet each day. It isn’t necessary to have a huge list. Even if it is one or two ideas, that is great. If you like, write and place them where they are visible. They become a part of your morning prayer by remembering how you are going to show God’s hope to others. You may have a ritual when you first start as a way of asking God for His help in introducing a new way of living as a gift to God.
“There is hunger for ordinary bread, and there is hunger for love, for kindness, and for thoughtfulness. This is the greatest poverty of all.”
As we go about our daily routine many times we become so involved with what we think is necessary to do. In our rush to accomplish everything we may miss someone who needs us to notice their pain or loneliness. Lent is an especially good time to look inward to find we may have lost sight of what is really important. I work with people who have severe mental illness. I know at times I have become involved with finishing my progress notes or being sure that a member is where they should be. Then I find that I have forgotten the main purpose of why I am in this ministry. Much of our time is “trying to get ahead.” Perhaps we are trying for a promotion or wanting to purchase a bigger home etc. and we forget “little things.” Try listening to someone, smiling, giving someone a hug, letting someone know we understand or at least listening to their problems.
The poverty of love and kindness is one of the major hungers in our society. We may be one of the wealthiest nations, but we fall short of kindness and love. Consider people who are older living alone and may have severe medical challenges or disabilities. Sometimes I think we feel if we don’t see them, then we won’t need to deal with their limitations or look at our own weaknesses. We need to treat our most vulnerable residents with much more kindness and love. If possible help them live in the community within a home environment. Of course this is an ideal situation and is not always possible or actually safe for some people. However, we do need a much better way of assisting them with medical and/or emotional support.
Each day help someone you know who is lonely or hurting. This doesn’t need to be a huge commitment. Perhaps just smiling at a co-worker who is having difficulties. It could also be someone in your own home who needs you to listen. If you like you can keep a notebook and at the end of each day write down how you helped someone. After this you might wish to pray for them. Hopefully, by the end of the month it will have become a habit and you are more aware of the needy people in your midst.