“But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing.” Matthew 6:3
When I was a child I was encouraged to give something up for Lent as a sacrifice to God. But somehow giving up chocolate or ice cream (or at least trying to) didn’t work for me. When I failed, which invariably I did, I felt as though the days when I had succeeded were negated.
This year, might it be enough if each day I try to do something kind for someone else, and not get caught doing it? Then, if I forget or fail on one day, there are all the previous days when I helped someone and nothing will change those moments. And there is nothing to prevent me from doing two things the next day (whereas you cannot “un-eat” more chocolate).
The key is to do these good deeds quietly, which for me is much harder than it looks. Here are just a few ideas to try during this season of Lent:
- Send a thank you note to someone who would never expect it; perhaps someone from long ago.
- Slow down when running walking errands. Notice the people around you. Smile.
- Call someone who loves you.
- Let the harried woman in line behind you checkout first.
- Hold the door for someone; and then wait and hold it for someone else.
- Did you receive good service? Call a day or two later and let the manager know. Thanking someone immediately is always nice; but when you call at a later time, the manager knows that an impression was made.
- Listen; really listen.
- Pray. If you think of someone, pray for them. If someone is rude or unkind, pray for them. And it doesn’t count if you say aloud, “Yeah, thanks to you too Bub, you’ll be in my prayers for the next week.”
From the movie, Pay It Forward:
Quiet, by Susan Cain, was the book I chose to bring with me to a slew of Doctor’s appointments. “Perfect,” I thought. “I can skim through this quickly while waiting.” I waived my husband off, suggesting that he run errands. As the frosted glass door closed behind him I sighed in bliss, ready to let the skimming begin.
But alas, skimming was not in my future. Instead, word-by-word, Quiet pulled me in with stories of Rosa Parks and the Harvard Business School.
After one chapter a nurse asked what I was reading. She was puzzled to learn that there was a book written about introverts. Hovering above us were the unspoken words, “rather a long book for a boring topic.”
Later, my doctor, after admitting he was an extrovert, said, “it must be very lonely to have so much quiet time.”
I laughed, “It would be very lonely for an extrovert, but for an introvert, it is a gift from heaven.”
Reading Quiet was like sitting on a cozy couch with a good Continue reading
My brother-in-law is one of a rare breed who does not have a cell phone cemented to his hand. Instead he uses a land-line and email. In a world where his age-group peers send 247 text messages per day,1
he finds himself left out of many conversations.
Last Sunday, I set up his email with text contacts for his family. Now he can text us from his email, and we can text back. Perhaps you too have a aging parent, family member, or friend who is becoming isolated due to a lack of a cell phone. This simple email set-up can help them stay in touch.
Below is a list of provider email address extensions and an example of how to send a text from email. Continue reading
She sits across from me, a white-haired bird of a lady, a stranger. I glance at my iPhone. I can give her twenty minutes, if I skip my errands. I should have refused her offer of a cup of coffee, but I could not, especially under the circumstances. Now I sit on a green vinyl bench in a café booth, towering above her, my belly touching table, while she fumbles with a clunky, prior century cell phone. Twenty minutes is it. Then I have to get to the middle school to watch Jenna’s basketball game. Maybe she’ll get on the court this time. I glance at my cell phone again and take a sip of my coffee.
“The hat,” I prompt, pointing to a dreadful robin’s blue, rainbow-speckled lump on the window sill. “You’ve had it for many years?” That I don’t doubt. The matted felt is worn and the colors are time-weary.
“Oh yes, the hat. What a story.” She shoves her cell phone and a white plastic card across the table. “This darn thing, I can’t figure it out. Could you help me call Continue reading