I am pleased to have a guest blogger today. My husband, Jason. He's a wonderful writer, and a published author as well. (Even though it was a trade publication, it still TOTALLY counts). Enjoy.I attended a Christmas Party tonight, the traditional holiday gathering of friends and acquaintances, and happened to take stock of one of the books on a table in the room: The Guinness Book of World Records. Now, at the time, it wasn't that important, but it stuck in the back of my mind.
Funny where inspiration comes from... After the party, I headed to the grocery store to pick up necessary baking supplies, since my wonderful wife "didn't know the next time she'd be able to make it out." Busy day, I guess (there's a blog post in her future, I can see it.).
As I was leaving, I happened to notice a woman right ahead of me exiting the store. She headed the same way as my car, and got into the one parked immediately next to mine. I noticed because I happened to see 3 young children in the back seat of the same parked care as I was coming in to the store, and having kids near that age, I thought to myself "they are really well behaved considering."
As I put my groceries in my car, I paused and looked into my back seat. I had some "Dirty Santa" gifts left from the aforementioned Christmas Party. As I came around to get in, the idea popped into my head... Why not give these children some random early Christmas gifts? (Note - these were pretty decent gifts, no old holey socks or a box of rocks. Ask anyone who was at the party.)
I wish I could say I acted on what I am coming to believe was Divine Intervention, something that, as I get older, I more fully accept as direction in our lives. I do not believe in coincidence. "Luck" or "Good Fortune" are only things to me that are directed by a higher power. To me, there are too many variables in life to not have some sort of direction. A string or chain of events in someone's life that are just random? Come on.
Back to the kids in the car... I blew it. I missed an opportunity to make a real, tangible difference in someone's life. Even for a few moments. I think we can all imagine what the reaction of those kids might have been. That's where the true joy is in life. Delight in a person's face upon receiving an unexpected blessing.
The missed opportunity did set me to thinking though: What if we all sought out the opportunities in life to bless those around us? And how many different people in one day could be truly Blessed? Not saying "Have a Blessed Day!" or "God Bless You!" Really working to find ways to change someone's life and the perspective of your fellow man.
Now, don't get me wrong... I am in no way attacking folks who say those things, even though I think for some people they have become a little cliché. But who sets out each day to improve life for those around them? Not me. I have a bad case of the "Selfies."
No, I don't take a million useless photos of myself and post them to Facebook for everyone else to see. That's just a great example of a bad case of the "Selfies." My problem is a little tougher to see, but became painfully obvious at work recently.
I was feeling rough. The kind of rough where you just want to be in bed and sleep for about 4 days. Sparing you the gory details, I mainly was looking for a little sympathy from those around me. Ever stop to think about the conversations you have with people? When you pass someone, you say "Hey! How's it going?" and not really care to hear their response? Or have you been on the other end of it and someone asked you, and you complained about something, but never bothered to ask them how they were?
And I was surprised by the lack of sympathy from those around me... never bothering to think of giving some sympathy to someone who might just have it a LOT worse off than me.
That's where I'm coming from in all this... how do we change our own lives by changing the lives of those around us? Remember that book of World Records? They measure all sorts of crazy things like "Most Tennis Balls Held in One Hand" or "World's Largest Mobile Phone Gaming Party." Seriously?!?
Now what if they had one for the most people Blessed in one day? Abstract, I know, but imagine the implications: 10,000 lives legitimately bettered for no purpose than to just help out your fellow man. That's only 1/60,000 of one percent of the world population. Big goal I know, but even starting with one person would be an improvement for me.
So, do you accept the challenge? Do you start each day seeking out even just 1 person with the goal of making their life better? Carrying an armful of books for a colleague? Paying for a Veteran's meal at the local fast food joint (after all they made it possible for you to enjoy your McHeartAttack Burger.) Or simply taking the time to ask someone who seems like they are having a tough day "How Are You?" and ACTUALLY LISTENING.
Consider that as a world record... the number of lives positively impacted in one day. Something worth being remembered for? I think so. A lot better than eating the "Largest Serving of Dried Bean Kurd," which by the way, took 10,000 people to eat.