Admittedly, we lead busy, chaotic lives, and it’s easy to let everyday stressers overshadow all we have to be grateful for. A popular meme online uses the “first world problems” tagline for all of the gripes we say throughout the day without realizing how fortunate we truly are.
“My car is so old & commute to work so quick that I don’t have time for my car to heat on my way there”
“I just used the last Pandora skip, but this next song is even worse”
Yikes. We’ve all been there at some point.
A few weeks ago I met with the logistics coordinator for Wheels for the World, a program of Joni & Friends that takes used wheelchairs, repairs them, and distributes them to disabled individuals in 3rd world countries. He described the living conditions these people are in and how without the chair, they are drug around on scraps of cardboard by family members unless they’re lucky—and rich—enough to be able to afford to buy a wheelbarrow to haul the person around.
I think of these people and what their daily lives must be like. I have so much to be grateful for. Even now, I sit in a climate controlled office, sipping iced tea from the neighboring Chinese restaurant, and typing away on an expensive machine as I effortlessly communicate to a digital world. There is so much we take for granted in our everyday existence. I want to practice mindfulness. Gratitude. Grace.
In a couple of weeks, we will gather around a table of food among people we love most and spend a day acknowledging all we have to be thankful for. The following day, we will get up hours before sunrise to add to our material collection.
What if, instead, we set aside November as a month of appreciation for all we have and shared our abundance with others? At Lambert’s, this concept was the inspiration behind our BE THE GOOD campaign. To see the good in the world, we must be the good in the world.
Each November, we run a uniform drive at Lambert’s, collecting gently used scrubs from our medical community and donating them to medical missions and charities that work with those less fortunate in rural Appalachia. Donors get coupons in exchange for participating. It’s our way of helping others Be The Good as they pay it forward, giving their excess a second life and benefitting those less fortunate.
What ways can you practice being the good in your own life? Here are 5 activities you can do to Be The Good:
- Donate your time. Find a cause you believe in and give them a couple of hours of your time. Senior programs like Mobile Meals rely on volunteers to survive. Know a caregiver? Offer them some much needed respite care by offering your services for the afternoon.
- Connect. You know your sweet Aunt Judy who lives alone? Drop by and visit; it will make her day. Call & offer support to your neighbor who is about to have his first holiday since his wife’s passing. Write letters to your friends, letting them know how much their friendship means and how you admire them.
- Purge. We all have perfectly good stuff that isn’t being utilized at home. The pretty sweater that’s too small. The art that once adorned your halls that now sits in the closet. The stack of CDs that you don’t use now that you use mp3s instead. Partner with a charity like Mission of Hope that will pair these items with a needing recipient.
- Contribute. Put your money where your heart is. Sponsor a senior through programs like those offered at the Wesley House. Donate to programs like PAWS that pair seniors with adoptable pets from animal shelters, giving them loving companions to share their lives with.
- Live DAOK. Practice daily acts of kindness. Help the elderly lady to her car, pay the parking fee at the hospital parking lot for the person behind you, donate blood at a blood drive… you get the idea. Be kind.
No matter our jobs, our schedules, our hobbies, and our obligations, there are things to be grateful for and ways to Be The Good. My 94 year old grandmother reconnected with an acquaintance from childhood recently, and the positive benefit from these simple phone calls is immeasurable. What can you do, where you are today?
“When you hear the word ‘disabled’, people think immediately about people who can’t walk or talk or do everything that people take for granted. Now, I take nothing for granted. But I find the real disability is people who can’t find joy in life and are bitter.” –Teri Garr, actress with MS