Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's Wednesday! Mid-Week Hump Day!

I’ve been thinking a lot about friends this week, how I need them, rely on them, and wish more than anything to be available to them. Returning what’s been given to me, counting my blessings in more ways than one… these are the things that matter in life, especially with the holidays rounding the bend.

Have you been doing any holiday shopping for your loved ones? I’ve been grabbing stuff here and there for a few months now. Of course, some members of my family are easier to buy for than others. But in the course of setting about making this holiday one for the record books, I’ve realized one thing. Love is the finest present of all. It can’t be bought or sold. It isn’t always packaged in a pretty red bow. Love travels great distances and can be shared in various ways. Love is masterfully crafted by an unseen hand.

Besides my family and friends, my favorite example of love exists in romantic fiction. A romance novel brings two people, who couldn’t be more different, or alike, together. A reader always knows the boy will get the girl, and vice versa. One thing that is tantamount to creating an unforgettable story is the highly anticipated Happily Ever After, the HEA, an ingredient no romance writer leaves out of their arsenal. Without the HEA, romance is caput.

As I get older, I wonder where love has gone. I’ve watched drivers drive with enraged testosterone, while the lone wolf on the track is practically run down. This week alone, I’ve been honked at for putting on my turn signal and trying to switch lanes with plenty of room to spare. I’ve been stuck behind a woman who stopped in a median to turn into a gas station, skillfully playing with her cell phone, not realizing the back of her car stuck out into traffic, preventing me from moving forward toward a green light. Where’s good sense? Where’s consideration? As a society, are we so bent on curing our own sickness that we fail to see the plaque building in our neighbor?

The Christian bible tells us to ‘love our neighbors as ourselves’, but I suggest society has twisted this philosophy askew. More often than not, we are loving ourselves more than our neighbor. At this time of year when many charities are open to helping those in need, how are we spreading that love? Are we?

Where I work, we accept donations for St. Jude’s http://www.stjude.org/waystohelp during the holidays, which helps children and their families deal with cancer and resulting treatments. Reasons why a customer won’t donate a dollar: “when is someone going to give me money for my needs?” Another reason, “I gave my one donation for the year.” Or here’s a classic, “I haven’t got a dollar to spare.” Judging by this economy, I’m sure the latter is true. However, nothing can be gained by refusing to give. Love cannot blossom without cultivation.

I love the commercials where people pay it forward. What a simple, lovely concept. A no brainer!

One of the ways I try to make a difference. I write romantic fiction to escape the present, to enter into adventure, to experience love for the first time again and again, and to share that love with others. In my stories, there are villains to be sure. But they do not win the day. In the end, good overcomes evil. Two lovers are united and the much awaited HEA brings a satisfied smile, and a sense that love withstands all things, rises above all things.

Doctors and nurses prove that every day at St. Jude’s. Marines do that every year with project: Toys For Tots http://www.toysfortots.org/. You do it when you buy a present for your loved one and share it with that person on Christmas morning. We teach our kids that Santa does it. We hope our bosses do it by giving out a bonus. Black Friday is a treat for customers by businesses eager to jump start the economy but also to provide a need, a discount to haggard accounts and weary shoppers all over the world.

Next week’s Mid-Week Hump comes the day before Thanksgiving. Be a blessing in the lives of others, sharing your light, letting it shine in someone else’s heart.

It’s Wednesday. Mid-Week Hump Day! There’s still time to show someone you love them. There’s still time to care for those who have not. Open your heart to those around you. At home is the best place to start.

Have you paid something forward recently? As an average citizen, what other ways can we make a difference in people’s lives?

As an aside, I know the southern writers at Okay, Listen Here have made a great impact on my life. I cherish their friendship more than they can possibly know.

6 comments:

  1. I think that technology and a sort of "entitlement" mentality has impacted people's behavior out in the real world. I've even noticed this mean-spirited snarky behavior in judges' comments for writing contests. I just try to stay on the "nice" team. I can't control other people's behavior. Only my own. One trick I try is to be super nice to sales people who are barely acknowledging me (and I am their customer!). If I can get them to say one nice thing to me, I feel I have succeeded.

    I try to treat others as I would like to be treated. I also donate regularly to the Downtown Rescue mission (every month) and up that donation during the holidays to include other homeless shelters and missions. I also do the Christmas Tree angel gifts every year and Toys for Tots, too. But giving should occur all year long so I try to do this regularly as well.

    Sometimes a smile, a hug, a kind word is all that it takes to make a difference in someone else's life. Most of all, I think it is important to treat all people with dignity and respect.

    Today it is my dad's birthday. He would have been 82. He survived four years in a Japanese concentration camp: one where many many boys and men died. He never carried a grudge against the people who incarcerated him. He was a kind and gentle soul. The greatest lessons he taught me were to create for the sake of creation, to explore and be curious, and to celebrate life. To share the celebration as well.

    Great post! And thanks for sharing the links!

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  2. I've become a facilitator with the divorce and grief recovery group I attended last fall. Helping others cope with the end of their marriage or the loss of a spouse helps me continue to grow and work through my own divorce. And yesterday I bought hats and gloves for a tree we decorate at church with hats, gloves, socks and scarves. They're sent to a Lakota mission in one of the Dakotas.

    Marilyn

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  3. Christine and PM, you've both shown that we each can do a little bit of something to outreach to those who need help. I think that's the best thing about southerners. Hospitality and friendship have always been a southern staple. And I guess that's what urks me about instances we see more often nowadays of people who think only of themselves.

    I've tried to do my part. I've knit hats for the Downtown Rescue Mission and we always give toward the Thanksgiving nad Christmas funds. We've donated Christmas shoe boxes to Samaritan's Purse and selected angels off the angel tree, in honor of each of our children. There are so many ways to help.

    Small things count too. Giving a car room to pull out in front of you in heavy traffic. Saying a prayer for someone who looks like they're having a bad day. Smiling and chatting with an employee, as you do Christine, to brighten their day. We just never know if that one act can make or break a person's spirit.

    So it's Wednesday. Hump Day! Are you any closer to your goals for the week today than you were on Sunday?

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  4. I know that there are many situations where people are selfish but everyday I see people giving back. Just as PM, Christine and Kathy talk about here.

    I am thankful that even though some people put themselves first there are always many others who try to make our world a better place!

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  5. Sick with a stomach virus. I got nothing.

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  6. Giving back is the best way to give thanks, Stephanie. I'm just surprised by what I'm seeing in the retail business these days from customers, especially as we promote St. Judes right now. :(

    Jean, get better soon. There's nothing like a stomach virus. Blessings!

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