Ever notice how easy it is to think about helping others? We like the idea. We brand ourselves as being caring. Do we ask ourselves how much do we really give? I mean volunteering that isn’t for show or attention. A behind the scenes, genuine giving, only for the sake of helping others. We find every excuse as to why we cannot contribute or volunteer time or talent. Surely, we are busy with families, careers, aging parents, existing charitable causes, etc. It’s obvious to anyone on social media, there is too much talk about what should to be done, by others of course. Self-proclaimed experts pontificate on how to solve so many desperate problems in the world. The news seems to give more unrest and anxiety. How do we respond? Do we shut it off and find a nice village town at the top of hill in the Italian countryside to live in? (Not that I’ve dreamed about that or anything.) Or, can we all do what needs to be done and give a little more?
Two days ago, I pledged to God and myself I would give more. I didn’t have to think long before I recalled an invitation I had received to attend an open house a few days before, for a not for profit home for unwed mothers and babies in need. My friend Amy, who seems to give endlessly, had been inviting me to this cause for years. This was perfect. I agreed to attend.
On the way there I reminded myself that I’m a single mother of 4, with 3 teenagers. My mom needs extra care. I have work, not mention a few charitable projects that I already work on. A family wedding coming up. Did I mention my fear of commitment? I reviewed the many reasons why I am not able to give much time. I decided to switch my thoughts to, “what CAN I do?” Once I switched my mindset of what I cannot do, to what I can do, the anxiety left me. I can give ideas. That’s what I’m good at. It doesn’t take much time.
The home for mothers is remarkable. Walking in the door, I felt a strikingly good vibe. Kind, friendly faces of the volunteers in a highly efficient, pristine setting. A relatively large group of helpers greeted me with a friendly welcome. What a great contrast to the virtual world of news. This was truly good news! I was met by my beautiful friend, Amy, who gave me a tour. The women and babies are provided with everything they need to survive and thrive, including career training and a personal life coach.
As we began to talk, I mentioned that I truly wanted to help, but in this season of my life, I do not have much time to give. After offering my willingness to give ideas on planning and progress, Amy said, “well isn’t this something?” That’s exactly what we need! We are forming a committee on planning and development. They would meet quarterly and I had you in mind to help out.
What always take me by surprise, is the fact that when I try to help others, I help myself. The environment was so perfect at the home, I didn’t want to leave. Upon leaving, a baby boy, Caden, reached his arms out to me. With delight I held him and played with him for a few minutes. Nothing gives me hope like the smile of a precious baby. Caden reached his little arms out to me as I walked out the door. We had an unspoken conversation as I said to myself, “Yes, Caden. I will be back.”