Sunday, August 07, 2011

Thoughts on Helping

home-made shorts, pillow-case dress, and a skirt that I will send to Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota (a program for kids in foster care)

Recently I was with a good friend of mine, telling her about a community service project I had done with my church... only two of us had shown up, but we decided that was OK, and we did the best we could and had fun. My friend said "when I grow up I want to be you [give of myself to community]. I have it in my heart; I just don't get around to doing it." I felt surprised, but also a little sad. There must be a lot of people who feel the same way. They have a pull in their heart to DO something, but just don't do it.

Now don't get me wrong; I understand that being a good person and treating people kindly as you go through your day is a service, too. And my friend certainly does that. She's a loving and wonderful person! She just doesn't do the "more" that she has in her heart. And I think a lot of people are in her same shoes.

I always had a strong tug to help, and used to do it to an extreme with my money. I have gone broke and run up credit card debt in my attempts to help the whole world. Thankfully I have come to my senses in that score. I can't "save" everyone from their poverty and despair! Once I took up quilting (11 years ago) and also got a renewed interest in knitting, I have been able to help a lot more without going broke. I love to give away quilts and knitted items. I know fabric isn't free, but I have found many ways to do this without breaking the bank.

Life is so hectic these days. People feel pulled in so many directions and time is limited. However, I can't imagine MY life without time devoted to the helping things I do. I think more people could fit some small service projects into their lives. For example, I rarely leave the house without some knitting. When I'm waiting for an appointment, or visiting someone in the hospital, or at home watching TV.. these are perfect opportunities to pull out the knitting and whip up a hat or a pair of booties. There are always babies who need booties or blankies and homeless people who need warm hats.

Another thing I've done is start a small crafting group at my church. We meet once a month for a few hours on a Saturday and knit together. We are making prayer shawls which our minister distributes to people suffering from various crises. We also make hats and booties for preemies, babies, and homeless people. It's not a huge time commitment, but has been a fun little activity with a few great women. We have fun chatting and learning from each other. Sometimes we include going out to eat! It's fun AND helpful to our world.

At home I make sewing time a priority. I know some people can't fit this in. I tend to ignore the housework and sew. I announce to my husband "I'm helping the children!" Then I spend hours sewing some quilts or clothing items. The house does get neglected, but that is not one of my priorities. Others can't do that, and I understand. I sure wish I could have a perfectly clean house like they have! But when it comes right down to it, I'd rather sew. For me this is important, and it feeds my soul.

I just think that if people really WANT to do something extra, the time could be found. It wouldn't have to be hours and hours like I do. I'm just a little nuts that way. But most people could find some extra time to take a meal to a family with an illness, knit or crochet a hat, or deliver some library books to a shut-in. There are zillions of ways to help, and if you have it in your heart, tugging at you, maybe you should answer.

A couple weeks ago in church our pastor said something about being a friend of God's. It made me think: when I have a human friend, I appreciate and want help from my friend, but I also give them my time and attention. How does God, as my friend, want me to do that giving part of our friendship? I can't just take God's help and stop with it as a one-way street. I think the way I need to be God's friend is in answering that tug that is in my heart. That's God asking me to be a friend to others, in God's name.

I guess that's why I feel called to give and donate and help. Maybe, if you feel that tug in your heart but have ignored it, you would find some joy in exploring how you can answer and respond to the tug. It's the other half of a friendship that makes it a full, two-way street. At least for me, this has been a source of joy.


Unknown said...

Oh Carol...we were just talking about people such as you yesterday when having a sibling reunion here at our cottage. We wondered what makes people do the things they do so unselfishly. Now I know someone!
Thanks for posting your thoughts and the lovely little outfits which will be loved for sure.
I too take knitting whenever possible. I make the funky fingerless gloves which I donate to the hospital auxiliary for their use. Every little bit helps, but you make it happen!

BrendaLou said...

at church we often sing a song
"I am a friend of God's....He calls me friend." It's an honor to be God's friend. You do it well, my friend.

Anonymous said...

C: Cute clothes! I know they will make some children very happy. I liked your post. It reflected the time you must have put into thinking about service. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Carol E. said...

goodnightgram: I'm always re-thinking myself and my reasons for giving. I'm afraid I come off sounding holier-than-thou which I don't want to do at all! But thanks for your comment. I know you must have had similar thoughts; you're a bigger giver than I am!

Megs said...

Great blog entry, Carol! And thanks again for organizing the school lunch volunteering - it means a lot to those of us who get to serve!