With the Covid19 virus running amuck, businesses closed, communities practicing shut-in and cancellations of more and more events becoming regular news, you see more Americans unite. Whether tragedies happen to our country (like 9/11 or Covid19) or in our country (like a mass shooting at a country concert), as Americans, as human beings, we are more alike than one might want to believe.
Why is this?
It seems that when disaster or catastrophe strikes us as people, we become more tolerant of our differences. We seem to be more united than separated. Our ability to try to understand and accept others is far more generous than in times of strong opinions about laws, politics, or religion.
As we all go through these uncharted times, I suggest you find ways to look for and become calm. For my husband and me, we are givers by nature. We often feel much better when we are doing for someone else than when we might get caught up in our misfortunes. Lately, it can be easy to see many reasons to be distressed. Chuck is a practicing dentist, and I am a professional speaker, author, and team training specialist in dentistry. We must intentionally find ways to be calm and claim the peace that is promised to us.
In other words, when those three great enemies (doubt, fear, and worry) show their wicked heads and get into yours, look for the peace promised by the big guy. Don’t confuse this peace to mean free from trouble, trials, tribulations, temptations, war, and loss. My life is evidence that this is not the case! It means an inward peace that is promised in His word.
Now, let’s get back to looking for calm.
As I wrote this blog, I began to think about this 88-year-old widowed gentleman who lives near us. For this story, let’s call him Thomas. He is a bit persnickety, not the most loved neighbor, and certainly not going to win Yard of the Month, EVER! A depression-era baby, he lives alone in what could be considered the largest and most beautiful home in our little neighborhood. Yet, he insists on only doing his yard when he can physically do it with an old push mower himself (can’t afford to have it done). He must not know about round up, or its uses, nor does he own a hedger as evidence by his large corner lot with grass growing on to the street.
Thomas has often called on Chuck to come and look at his electronic issues (with expectations of repairing it) again; he can’t afford to have this fixed. He has squabbled with my husband in this small town about his fees and dental insurance, and always MONEY is the issue. I won’t mention the double-digit number of patents he owns from his years at GE. Indeed, I won’t speak about his massive accounts he day trades on. I will mention he has five beautiful grown daughters who have shared much over the years. Typically, in Texas, I would say, “bless his heart.”
However, this story is quite different!
Thomas grows has a garden and grows his own vegetables (not really seen in our neighborhood). Over the years he has occasionally shared tomatoes, fresh lettuce or greens with me. On two occasions since Valentine’s, he has brought over some small items to add to my dinner menu, often a cooked veggie. Then the past two times, he actually took an old floral vase picked some of his beautiful (but unkept) flowers from one of his flower patches in his yard. Upon delivery, he reminded us that he did expect his vase back.
What I didn’t mention earlier when I shared that many times we are better doing for others is that Chuck and I have different love languages. While my love language is acts of service, I love to cook for others or serve in some way on a committee, and if not careful often, I say yes to more than I should. I’ve prepared a lot and many times the last few weeks for others. Chuck and I deliver it to three widowed senior women who are purposely shut-in. Chuck’s love language is gifts. So, he is like Santa carrying the packages and bags to the front porch ringing their doorbells and walking away to wave and send an air hug and kiss.
Today, as Chuck and I remained in our casual wear (not his emergency patient day, not my ZOOM or webinar day), we both at the same time thought about Thomas. I had cleaned the vase from last week and the very small dish he had to return. It was like we were making music together as I filled Thomas’s dish with some fresh peas, and ham then made him up a container of pasta with homemade sauce. Simultaneously, Chuck was cutting flowers to return his vase with something special for him as we returned it. This was a moment in our day that there was a unique peace to calm us as we served another.
Remember, during these times of calamity and confusion, sometimes the best we can do is to look to serve another. In most instances, you don’t have to go far. Across the street or maybe even in your own home. Simple, intentional actions. One thing is for sure; It takes your mind away from the enemies we call doubt, fear, and worry.
I want to suggest that everyone reading this does just that. When you are distressed and feeling helpless, serve someone else in some simple way. In this particular week of faith, be brave, be vulnerable, and humbled as you consider saying and praying aloud to the only person who can help us now.
See you on the road, JoAn
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