Saturday, November 16, 2013

Priceless Gifts.....Would You Do This?

The approach of the holidays usually brings out the angst in all of us.  
There's the "shopping list" of things to buy......the decision of who,  
what, and where will the celebration be with (or in some cases, without).  The budget......that can be a mountain sometimes that we dread to climb.  However, there are some gifts, that can be considered priceless, and yet cost us personally, very little monetarily.......other than the giving of our time.

There are so many people hurting in the world.  I read about so many tragedies and wonder, what's happening to
people......why are we seemingly so cruel and unfeeling.  And, of course, the bigger the disaster, the more "news worthy" it seems to become.  But, if you look around your own area, you'll find people hurting, and sad, and worried, and they're not on the news, or being written about....they just exist in their own world without others really noticing.

It's true.....you can't stop the madness in the world, but you can make a difference in the world.  It's one small gesture of kindness, a word of
encouragement, an unexpected offering that can sometimes make your part of the world just a little brighter......a little happier.  It doesn't always take money....just a little of our time and thought to do this.  And, what we put into the world generally is what comes back to us.  More importantly, doing something kind for someone else helps us each to realize how blessed we are and that is priceless.

I was thinking about this, and what would be ways any of us could make the world a little happier......these are some of my ideas, and I hope you'll choose at least one during the holidays:

1.  Visit someone in a nursing home.  The elderly in nursing homes are generally the forgotten ones.  You'd be shocked to find how many of them have no family, or have family that doesn't take the time to visit with them.  They sit, or lie, in these places day after day, just waiting......and, the touch and kindness of anyone means everything to them.  Find a nursing home in your area, and call to see if you can visit people there.  Better yet, get your children involved......when kids visit the elderly, you'll see
their faces light up at the mere presence of your child.  This is also a fabulous way to teach your children to "see" beyond their own world, develop compassion and understanding, and that to give a tiny little bit of their time to someone who has so little is truly priceless.

2.  Meals On Wheels.  One year I volunteered my daughters and I to be Meals On Wheels substitute deliverers on Thanksgiving Day, so the regular drivers could have a day off with their families.  This was one heck of an adventure let
me tell you!  We were given I think 8 deliveries to make, with addresses and names (and no map and no GPS!).  We took off with the food, and ended up spending a better part of half the day trying to find the people who were waiting for this food.  Talk about an eye opener!  We drove to places I had no idea existed.......saw elderly people living in conditions we couldn't even imagine.......but at the end of our deliveries, knew that we had done something we'd never forget.  During that day too, I think my relationship with my daughters became a closer bond with each other too.

3.  Angel Trees.  Many businesses and virtually all churches have an Angel Tree that they sponsor each year.  You'll find paper ornaments on them with the first
name and age of a child that will have no present under their tree without the goodness of others helping.  This is another awesome learning lesson to involve your children in.  If they're old enough, let them choose the child, and then let them choose the gift, and make sure they're the ones who help you take it back to the location.  It gives your child a sense of empowerment that they've done something good for someone they'll never meet, and it opens a world of discussions about how blessed they are, rather than focusing on what latest gadget they don't have is.  Most importantly.....somewhere on Christmas morning, a child will open that present and you'll have made their day.  That's worth a million bucks alone!

4.  People In Your Neighborhood.  If you look around 
the area you live, I'll bet you'll find at least one house that has an occupant no one ever visits.  Of course common sense rules here, but if it's someone who
maybe has no family, or is incapacitated and can't get out, they would be the ideal candidate for a gift from you.  If you have kids, why not bake some cookies, or muffins, package them in a holiday tin, and go knock on the door.  Your surprise visit would probably mean the world to this person.  Just the fact that someone like you would have given them a few minutes of your time can be a priceless gift.


5.  Feeding the Homeless.  I think just about any town has a homeless shelter these days.  These are wonderful places the whole family can get involved with.  They need volunteers to help with all sorts of things.  



The point is.........if you're reading this, even it's not your own computer......you are blessed.  You have something to give to others who are less fortunate than you.  We tend too often to get focused on what we
don't have, rather than what we do.........we tend to want more and more, rather than being content with what we do have........so this holiday season how about focusing on others.......be that candle in the dark.......be that "spirit of giving" that is missing in so many parts of the world.  In doing so, your life becomes a priceless gift TO the world, and your family has just made a priceless memory that will last forever.