It’s hard to think of anything beyond the senseless violence in Uvalde, Texas we’ve had this last week of May, 2022. I know it has to be on the mind of anyone reading this blog. You know I rarely watch newscasts but it isn’t hard to find out what’s going on in the world from word-of-mouth. And that is how I found out about this atrocity. I was actually sipping a cocktail with eleven others of my weekly canasta group between playing cards and eating dinner. Someone mentioned it and later, Daniel and I tuned in to a newscast and listened to our president barely able to talk about the horrible tragedy. It truly is inconceivable.
I know I can’t fix this. I know I can’t help in any way other than to pray for the families and the schoolchildren, teachers, and the entire town, all of whom are reeling from what will become an unforgettable day for the rest of their lives. And I will do that. Pray. It’s what we can all do. But thinking about this situation has made me consider how each one of us can reach out in ways that touch the people within our own circles of influence and even beyond. God knows people need encouragement, a little love and support these days. And being the creative individuals we are, we can certainly get creative about how we touch the lives of others to make them realize there are still people who care.
- How are you reaching out to your neighbors? Could you invite them for a meal or glass of lemonade and a cookie on a hot afternoon?
- Do you know someone who is ill and just needs a card, a phone call, or a visit to bring a smile to their otherwise challenging day?
- Depression and anxiety are real and very much alive in our society today. Could you pick a friend, family member, or neighbor once a week or even twice a month to connect in a way that will brighten their day?
- Can you volunteer in an organization that really needs more help? Even if it is only once a month?
- Can you do a chore for someone who has trouble doing it?
- Could you volunteer to teach someone an art class just to cheer them up? Even if it is over a Zoom call or FaceTime?
I could go on and on. The point is, there ARE things we can do to make our world better. There ARE people we can touch who need a little bright spot in their day. And each time we reach out, we have made a little chink in the anger, frustration, and senseless violence going on in other parts of the world. A little bit of laughter, cheer, and love that gives all of us hope. And if we lose hope, we haven’t much left.
I know our own art group keeps a list of people who need encouragement and prayer. People they know or who have been brought to their attention. People who will sift through their neverending stack of junk mail and find a surprise waiting for them. Someone in our group has sent them a hand-made greeting card with a sentiment that says, “We care!” It is sent anonymously……just signed from The Sanctuary Artists*. It is a wonderful ministry orchestrated by this incredible group of women artists. It’s a way of blessing others.
There are two ladies who are in their mid-80s who live down the street from me. They both take care of husbands who are not able to function well without aid. And these sweet ladies get weary. I invite them over at least twice a month for tea. It’s just a small thing to do but it means the world to these two sweet ladies. I am honored to do it.
There is a widow next door to me who is 89 years old. She told me her legs are not working well anymore and she is having to give up golf, the one activity that gets her out of the house. I asked if she would join our weekly canasta group and she said an immediate YES! She used to play years ago but needs to brush up, so I am going to help her get ready to join the group and will begin taking her to play cards each Tuesday afternoon. It’s a small thing but something I can do to bring fun back into her life. Someone told me recently that she and her long-time husband were known by many as being the most loving couple they had ever met. They doted on one another and their relationship was enviable. Since he died five years ago, her life has never been the same. I am honored to give her something to look forward to.
I have a friend in New York who is 101 years old. She is suffering from shingles. Today I made her a little painting on a card and sent it to her in today’s mail. It took a little time but my heart smiled the whole time I was creating it. Before I mailed it to her, I prayed over it, asking God to bless her and heal her pain.
I know so many of you have and are giving time and effort to help in children’s camps and Vacation Bible School. Certainly, these are ways to give back to our communities and bring smiles to many young faces.
My neighbor across the street just started volunteering at the hospital. This lady has trouble walking due to a stroke a year ago resulting in her left arm and hand being paralyzed and her steps labored, but she can do something to help others. We all can.
These are the kinds of things that give us hope in a world that seems so broken. Yes, we will all keep praying for peace, for a gentler, kinder world. But along with prayer comes a responsibility to take action. What could you do today to brighten another person’s life? Reaching out has a twofold result. Not only do you bring sunshine into their life but you can’t help but get a little on yourself!