Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Holidays I - Further Along the Journey

Holidays and Beyond by Kurt Olson

Holidays are always special because it is on those days when we typically go above and beyond showing the normal, everyday appreciation to those we love.   But now, one or more of those held so dear to us have died and it feels like the magic of the holiday has metaphorically ‘left the building’ without them.   Can you really be thankful on Thanksgiving?  Is there really a merry in Merry Christmas?  You wonder if any of this is remotely possible without your loved one. 

It may come as a surprise but your holidays will need to heal from your loss too.  The meaning of the holidays hasn’t changed, but the way you celebrate them probably needs to shift or might even need major reconstruction.  For me, it became a time to remember my late wife’s generous heart.  I tip my head to her generosity but donating a goat to a needy family through Compassion International.  Another smaller thing I do throughout the year that changes my thoughts, honors her memory and helps me heal is what I call my “Do Good” column in my yearly budget.  I made the decision to set aside 1% of my earnings to do some good for others. Some call it “random acts of kindness” but I prefer thinking of it as my divine appointments from God and His generosity.  It’s those times when a friend or a complete stranger is brought my way with a need. Do I give to everyone who comes my way?  No, but I do find myself freed up to help someone out if I have the money set aside.

The reason I do these acts is to help out others with a bigger need than I have for that money. But it also does something in my heart. I was recently in a restaurant where a woman had her hands full with her kids. Most of the restaurant was giving her dirty looks. I could see the tension on her face trying to feed her kids and calming them down. I asked the waitress for her check and paid for it. Then I asked the waitress to hand her a note after I left that simply said, “Congratulations you been chosen to receive a free lunch from a complete stranger. Have a great day!  You look like you’re an awesome mom. Great job!”  I do not remember anything else I did that day, but I remember that woman.

Do you have any room in your life for random acts of kindness? Your assignment this week is to find just one person to whom you can show a little bit of kindness and take action.   And remember, do so with humility and without any possibility of repayment.

Scripture tells us in 1 John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us.”  (NRSV)  Pass it on.

 This is the first in our series of three Holiday posts so stay tuned.  If you are viewing this through the email feed, please know you can find additional support and encouragement at our home site of www.griefslinky.blogspot.com  

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