“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
My husband and I went to church two nights ago, and I must admit I really didn’t feel like going. It was a Saturday night, and although we are fortunate enough to have a Saturday night service, in addition to a Sunday morning service at our church, I was tired from a busy day at work. As a nurse, I have worked every other weekend for decades, so Saturday is just another work day for me, and since I had already walked over five miles in an eight-hour shift (Thank you for counting my steps Fitbit!), I really just wanted to sit on the couch and eat Cheezits. Anyway, he wanted to go, so we went, mainly because weariness trumps guilt, in my book, as the lesser of two evils. Like a trip to the gym, I never leave church feeling like it was a waste of time or that I wished I hadn’t bothered. This time was no exception as the message was just what I needed to get back on the blogging wagon.
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
– Charles Dickens
For those of you who have read my blog from the beginning, you may have noticed that I have been a bit lackadaisical this summer. Gone are the twice weekly, or at least weekly published Spunkynoni rants, anecdotes or commentaries to be replaced with mental notes, half-finished drafts and slips of paper with cryptic words on them, meant to be future blogging ideas. Phrases such as, “youngest”, “Bean and the red balloon” or “sweater, sweatshirt, dress, skirt”, hastily jotted down on a scrap of paper and shoved into my nurse’s scrub pants or saved on my phone. Most weeks, this is about as far as I’ve gotten. Writer’s block? I really don’t know about that. I don’t yet consider myself a writer, although that is my dream. I consider blogging, or at least mine, to be an online diary, or a sort of diarrhea of my mind, which for whatever reason, some people read.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Luke 6:38 NIV
The newlywed period of writing a blog had worn off and the river of entries had slowed to a trickle by the end of summer. Never an overachiever, more a “just-getting-by” sort of person, I lacked the mental toughness and discipline to sit down and type, inspired or not. I felt guilty about it at times, but easily shrugged it off with the thought that there really was no reason to feel badly about it, after all, it’s just an outlet for me and a way to express myself, not a profession or a gift to anyone else.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. ” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sitting in church last Saturday night, tired, craving a salty snack and a little annoyed at my husband for a real or imagined offense that I can’t even remember now, I listened to the Pastor’s message with growing excitement and enthusiasm. It is a testament to the talent of my Pastor, and to clergy everywhere, or maybe it is simply God’s doing, that the sermon, at times feels like it was written just for me. This night he spoke of doing for others, each as we can, with what ever we have to give. He stressed the importance of not waiting until a huge act of generosity could be delivered, such as large sums of money being donated after a lottery win, and that giving to others sometimes does not even mean money at all. Quite often, it is the gift of time that is more precious than gold. He went on to say that we all have God-given talents and gifts. Some have money, some have musical abilities, some are good listeners, some can do no more than pray for others. Each gift is meant to be given away, not hoarded. He said he wished he could line up the congregation and tell each person what their gift was, that was meant to be shared, but that was not something he had the ability to do. I don’t think he had to though. I think each person there may have had a thought as to what they could give away. A few may have thought of money, after all my church is also a homeless shelter, and money is always in short, or nonexistent supply. But, some may have thought about a lonely person they could visit, or a struggling family they could buy a few items, or someone to add to theit prayer list.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10 NIV
Me? I thought about writing. I don’t know if the words I type have any effect on anyone, except maybe my mother. But I believe that if God put this desire in my heart to write, there must be a purpose to it, and maybe someone, aside from Mom (LOL!!) might benefit from it. If that is the case, than the least I can do, is to put some effort into it. That means, weekly (gulp!!) entries. As my saintly (and overly referenced) mother always said to my sisters and me when we balked at housework or homework when we were little, “you don’t have to want to, you just have to do it.” I do want to. As is the case with a trip to the gym or sometimes church, writing for me is one of the things, that after I’ve done some mental foot stomps and whining, I always love. I come away from all three, feeling happy, satisfied and even a bit proud of myself. strengthening body, spirit and mind is not always an easy task but all are necessary for growth, and for me, happiness. The best of all though, is to find your gift within, whatever that is, and give it away because when your hands are empty from giving, you will have the ability to reach out and grab the Joy that God is handing you.
“Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy.”
P.S. By weekly posts, I mean that in the broadest sense, so please don’t hold me accountable. Actually, scratch that, if you have read all the way down to this point, you deserve the right to harass me a little! Thank you and God bless, dear reader!