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What act of kindness can you do today?

We can change a person’s life by reaching out with acts of kindness. Like the song says below by doing that we can build a better world one life at a time.

“I’m trying to show by my actions that you can make a far better world if you just care enough. That’s all you have to do. It’s no big deal. One act of kindness a day can do it.”– Betty Williams

This week let us all commit to acts of  kindness. Think of one act of caring each day and then just do it. Please write to me and tell me how your week was different because of doing that.

Call that family member or friend who has been on your mind. Offer to visit a shut in for your pastor or just someone you know, who could use some cheering up.

Having been a patient in the hospital, having my pastor, friends and family visit was the highlight of my day. When visitors wouldn’t come my meals would be the highlight of my day. That is a depressing experience no one should have to face. It is sad that many people get no one visiting them in the hospital or their home. People should not be so busy, that they can’t take half an hour out to visit someone, who needs some compassion and a listening ear.

I have had to self-isolate several weeks because of a respiratory bug. I have only received visits from my pastor and a neighbour. I know from many times of staying home for weeks and sometimes months at a time, how crushing it is to my spirit to have no visitors.

My pastor does the best he can to see me once a week. Yet, he is a busy fellow.

People who are sick desperately need a little of your time. As a counsellor I can tell you that many go into severe depression when no one comes to see them. As one of my friends says so well, “Buddy, when you have to stay home for a long time you can go shack whacky!”

Have we become so busy a society of be here, do that and worship the god of success at all costs, that we have forgotten how to really care for those who need us? I know many people are tireless in their outstretched hands of compassion for others. They give and give until there is nothing left to give.

It’s not up to the pastor or any one person to spend time with those who are in need of someone else to see other than their spouse. Too many ministers are in burnout because they are carrying far too heavy a load. The responsibility of ministering to the needs of those in our churches and in the community should be shared. In that way no one pastor or individual is carrying the full load.

Why is it that there are always 20% or less of the people doing all of the work in addressing the needs of people in their community? It’s not a reasonable answer to say just let those people continue what they are doing. That is an unsustainable situation. Ultimately what will happen is that many of that 20% or less of people will stop helping, so they don’t get burnt out.

In my own life it is a small percentage of my friends that are helping us as we deal with the injustices in our life of the medications and treatments the Ontario Ministry of Health refuses to provide for my rare auto immune condition of mastocytosis. There is a systemic failure of the system to help people manage the enormous financial load people face in the management of their chronic or rare conditions.

I don’t share this to gain sympathy for myself. Part of my calling is to speak out against the injustices in people’s lives. It is wrong for anyone to be denied the medications,treatments and vocational supports they need for the best quality of life possible.

Not everything is about the bottom line. Let us not underestimate the power of small acts of kindness.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

-Leo F. Buscaglia, American guru, tireless advocate of the power of love, 1924-1998

The Bible is clear on our moral responsibility to reach out to others in need.

“I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.”

Matthew 25:35-36, The Message

Listen to how Mother Teresa spoke of our call to love all people.

There are so many lonely people around you. You won’t have to look hard to find them.

Perhaps, there is a broken relationship that needs to be mended. You have felt that nudge in your spirit to make things right. Give in to it and let the healing waters flow into that relationship.

In my own life fighting chronic illness I have found that by reaching out to others, I think less about my situation and more about the needs of others.

There is much power in practicing the power of presence. As one who has been involved in visiting many people in hospitals and in their homes, they have all commented on how much better they felt for my visit. 30 minutes of a listening ear for a shut in battling illness or those who are even afraid to venture outside of their home can make a world of difference. Love in action is more precious than gold; it is the emotional caffeine that can keep people going, help them to hold on and not give up.

There are seniors or those with chronic illness who need you. A smile and even a half hour of your time can go a long way to brightening someone’s day.

Reach out and touch someone’s hand today. Their life and yours will be the better for that one act of kindness.