Focussing on kindness and charity to others causes the inner critic to see the world from a different perspective. Asking our egos to look out for others is a challenge for most of us. During this holiday weekend, let us remember the folks at home while we recognize the commitment our service men and women are making on our behalf. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” JFK’s words should be remembered this weekend and everyday. We live in the greatest nation with the greatest freedom available. We enjoy our “rights” because there are those who serve our country to ensure those rights are available to all.
For every person serving in the Armed Forces, there are many “support personnel” located within our borders who sacrifice on our behalf. Please remember the families, the parents, the sisters, brothers, Aunts and Uncles of our servicemen. Remember the children waiting patiently for their Dad or Mom to be their leader in Scouts or coach their sports team. We no longer have the draft, we have volunteers who choose their service to country and countrymen. We remember those who sacrificed their lives, remembering their goal was to preserve our freedom and provide freedom for other nations around the world. Please remember all who serve, both here and abroad, both active and retired, and all the families who support their efforts and pray for their safety. Memorial Day is a day to honor all our citizens who serve for our greater good and a day for pride in our country.
The old adage, you either have time or money, appears to be true for many of us these days. A true comment on our economic times, we seem to give more when we have less money. We give our time, attention, hugs, advice and most definitely our love. Improbable though it seems, we are more charitable when we are closer to needing the charity of others. Although we most often think of charities during the cold winter months, we need to remember there are folks needing your charity everyday.
During the growing months, plant a row for the food banks. One charity, America’s Grow-A-Row, began like this a few years ago and now produces hundreds of pounds of food for others. All started by one man’s desire to plant a row in his garden to give a way. If you only garden in containers, plant a garden container for an elderly neighbor and give it to your kids to harvest and deliver. The neighbor will get to know your child and both benefit from the harvest.
Giving when we’re broke can be as easy as putting away our road rage and being kind at random moments. Thanking a sales clerk, helping a stranger with their grocery selections or stepping aside to let a rushing shopper through the line ahead of you are all ways to give without spending a dime.
The next time you are searching online, consider Goodsearch- Web Search, like Google, you can search for anything on the web, however, this grants you the ability to donate to your favorite charity or their own charity of the day. Adding up your searches throughout a week and you can help your favorite organization without spending a nickel.
There are so many deserving charities throughout our country. Remember you can give when you’re broke, it only takes your time and kindness.
Today I received more bad news and wondered how to move on with living. As I tried to make sense of the chaos of thoughts swirling through my mind, I came across the poem, “Kindness” by Naomi Nye. It was the perfect message for the moment of confusion. Please enjoy it and remember, the darkest hour is just before the dawn.
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
~~~ Naomi Shihab Nye