what do people thank you for?
I got these flowers yesterday and today for my birthday. The yellow bouquet is from my parents, and the tropical one behind it is from some dear friends. They made my day.
Between these flowers and that lovely necklace my friends made for me, I’ve been thinking about how much sweet gestures can make such a difference. During a time when there seems to be unspeakable cruelty going on around the world, these sweet acts of kindness and generosity seem so big. They provide a glimmer of hope and goodness.
The thing is, we’re all capable of these acts — these acts that seem so easy to do, and yet make such a difference for the recipient. I’ve shared the story before about Arun Gandhi’s theory of trusteeship: his grandfather, the Mahatma, believed that while we all have talents -- each and every one of us -- and feel like we own the talent or gift, the truth is that we don't own them, but rather we are trustees of the talent, and we are called upon to use these talents for the benefit of others. Like my friend Cheryl, who used her maker’s talent to contribute to that necklace. Or my friend Jill, who used her talent of rallying community to get critical items to the border of Texas to refugees who are in desperate need.* And Justin Dillon, in his book A Selfish Plan to Change the World, specifically shares his belief that if we have a talent or gift that we enjoy, why shouldn’t we use it in service of others? Surely service should be joyful?
Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about this: about doing things that we love that can help others. But of course, the first step, even before figuring out how to serve, is to identify the things that we love doing. So share some hope with me, friends: what are the things you love doing, that people thank you for? It could be singing. Or quilting. Or organizing. Or whatever.
I’d love to hear the good you’re making in the world. Please leave your answers in the comments.
* If you want to donate directly to refugees, here’s how you can do it.
** I’m working on a project that would help create a community of people who want to change the world — even in their own small way. Does this sound like something you want to learn more about? If so, click here to join the email list for updates soon.