Shakespeare said “All the world is a stage and (we)… are all actors in it”. (As You Like It, if you care to check it out)
Have you ever thought about your life as a movie or play?
Are you the hero or villain?
What would be the title of your life movie?
Who would play you?
What message would you want your life to tell to others?
Think about a movie/play that has impacted you in such a way that you were changed and felt called to some action?
I have often wondered if we viewed our lives that way then would we act and live differently?
Along the same lines, think of all that goes into creating a play or movie: the script, the costumes, the actors, the setting, make-up, lighting and so on. All of this just exists as back round to the real story and nothing happens until the director calls out…”Action!”.
Nothing happens until someone takes ACTION…
We are talking about charity this month and how charity is a two way street–giving and receiving. Charity is the Greek word agape (uh-gawp-ay) which is simply defined as active-love towards our fellow humans beings. It seeks to meet people where they are and offer hope in the form of something real or tangible–an action offered in charity.
I hope you have been encouraged by putting your cards in the mail (see previous post) if not don’t worry, the month isn’t over yet.
We started out, in January, with the idea of cultivating and crafting a more hope-full life. We have learned to seek those things that help us to be intentional on our journey to a more hope-full life. This has all led us to here… the place of charity.
Charity is hope all grown up. Charity seeks to re-create hope in other people and situations.
Hope is love holding out its hands in the dark–George Iles
This is the power of hope and charity. The actions that we take are vital to our lives and the lives of those we touch.
The joy of giving and receiving…
Let’s start with the big picture and then bring the focus closer to home.
What’s bigger than the idea of universal laws & principles?
There is a universal law of Giving, that is, the more you give the more that comes your way. This “Generosity Principle” is the idea that in living a life of generosity we create a ‘flow’ of sorts where the value, quality, and influence of our lives is expanded. The Bible speaks of the principle of sowing and reaping but believing in the Bible isn’t a requirement for this to work. That’s the idea behind a law of nature or universal principle–it just works.
Give and it will be given to you–pressed down, shaken together and running out all over.–Jesus (Luke 6:38)
Cast your bread on the water and after many days it will come back to you.–King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 11:1)
Think of Ebenezer Scrooge, the ultimate hoarder, he held tightly to all that he had–namely his money– and he eventually learned that a life, or wealth, unshared is no life at all. (The Christmas Story by Charles Dickens–not just for Christmas)
So to bring this home to where we live, let me say this–being a generous giver and receiver is a part of the same principle. By not being generous, we rob and limit ourselves. By not being a gracious receiver, we rob and limit others. And the really cool thing is that both ends of the principle are not just about you–the you on either end.
So when the credits roll and the lights come up on your life how will people feel when they walk away?
I recently experienced a preview into the story of a friend’s life. (True story with names changed)
Katrina, my friend, had been questioning the theme of her life movie and feeling a little down. I was there when she met a long, lost friend, Rachel, who then told Katrina that because of her (Katrina) she (Rachel) was alive today. Years ago my friend, Katrina, had picked up the phone to just ‘check-in’ on Rachel who was going through a difficult time. What Katrina didn’t know was that Rachel was taking steps to end her life with the final prayer that if just one person would call her on the phone she wouldn’t go through with it…Katrina was THAT friend. Rachel never said anything at the time but that phone call of charity, agape, horizontal love saved Rachel’s life. and the lives of her children.
How powerful and profound that something as simple as a phone call changed the course of an entire family.
Although, thankfully, I have never been at that extreme breaking point, I have had timely gifts and calls that have kept me going through rough times in my life: pancakes from a neighbor, a rocking chair for child #5, a card in the mail, a much-needed pack of diapers left by the front door, a timely invite from a friend to come and hang at her house (and bring ALL 5 of my kids), a phone call “just to talk”.
These are some of the credits that will roll at the end of their lives and be credited for blessing mine. In the spirit of these kindnesses, I have attempted to be the giver of similar kindnesses and can’t wait to see how they have played out. Sometimes I think it will be the ones that I am not aware of that will be the most powerful.
Small kindnesses are like drops of water in a pond-the effect far outweighs the effort.–Me
I remember a very low point in my life when I was alone, pregnant, nauseated 24/7, and 3,000 miles away from home. I had a neighbor that was lovingly, yet secretly, known as “Kooky” ______. We lived next door to each other and would occasionally, make dinner and craft jewellery together. One day she showed up at my door and said “Don’t be mad but I’m here to clean”. She burst through the door with her cleaning supplies and vacuum cleaner, “I know you don’t feel good and that’s understandable but the world always seems a little better when the floor is vacuumed”.
She and I weren’t close. She had some “issues” of her own but she came like an angel on a mission and my world grew much less dark that day. I eventually came home to the love and support that I needed but I have never forgotten her, and her unique, precious and “kooky” friendship. To this day I tear up at the memory and pray for her to be blessed because of her great kindness to a girl from West Virginia, who came and went from her life but on whose life she made a profound impact.
So when we speak of charity don’t discount the little that you feel you have to offer. If it’s in your heart or mind to give it or share it…just do it.
And don’t worry about the credits or the awards–each kindness has a reward of its own.
Heidi Mull, grateful for kindnesses given and received, learning to answer the call of “ACTION!”