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Creating waves of change.

October 30, 2014

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“It is easy to believe we are each waves and forget we are also the ocean.” ~ Jon J. Muth

I often wander down memory lane, feeling thankful for the many blessings and the countless struggles both of which have developed who I am today. Repeatedly my eyes are opened to how different my foundation and core of acceptance is from those I interact with. Some are way more grounded than I, and have matured at a rate that I can only hope to emulate. Than there are some that I wonder what went different in their lives that caused them to be so cynical, cold, and self consumed. I know that is harsh, but after 9 years of standing present with and trying to communicate that basic and true needs are so very difficult to obtain and maintain in some homes here in our community; how devastingly pained some friends are having experienced a life blow that has left them reeling; and how here within our arm’s reach we have those whose lives, whose grief, whose disability/disadvantage could be eased simply from the “crumbs” of the table in a neighbor’s home, has made me a bit rough around the edges, and with a bit less of a filter to hold my thoughts within my hard head.
Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him,
“Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” ~ Mark 23-28

When you cannot understand how someone right here in your neighborhood could possibly not be able to pay their month’s rent/mortgage, utility bill; could use a meal delivered or a meal and an ear offered; can not afford the expense of a good pair of shoes, coats, necessities; you are denying to recognize that those who have are simply a sliver of a step off of the ledge from those who need. This degree of separation is often as small as a mustard seed and the speed and force as which the tides can turn from placid waters to hurricane gales will take your breath away. To me financial needs=emotional needs=physical needs. These are all needs that can be eased, met, or abolished with the simple surplus of items, funds, energy, compassion, or desire that exists here in our corner of the world. However, no need will ever be met if we fail to understand how imperative that it is that we start with loving those within our home, then carry it forth to those outside of our home and in our arm’s reach. Committing to engage by being “neighbors” not strangers to those whom we share this precious plot of earth that I affectionately call “our corner of the world” is imperative for peace within and around us.

Recently a home within our arm’s reach suffered the devastating loss of a family member. The family had two choices: lay down and cease living or continue forth. Before they could even make that choice, before they could get back up from the life blow they were served, they needed the hand of a friend, and you joined me in offering that, as you have countless times in the past 9 years.
You offered meals.
You joined me in a special Mission Stay mowing the lawn, and tending to the yard.
You showed unconditional compassionate love in action, deed, words, donations and offering hope for better tomorrows knowing that they were in the prayers, thoughts and heart of friends.

One of the steps forward for this family was some changes to the home and property, one being adding a fence around the yard to help contain their two dogs. One afternoon the mom opened the door to an unexpected visit from a neighbor. The neighbor offered their condolences, then in the very next breath told her she must remove the fence from touching theirs. They wanted the easement between the properties to remain. I can only hope I would have handled this situation as patiently and calmly as my friend did. She explained the panel could easily and readily be removed for access to the easement but the neighbor insisted on the space between their yards to remain. So be it. My friend obliged and used this as a lesson to her children that we are to be rise above our greatest challenge, even if the challenges keep coming.

Why must we try to keep a buffer between those we cohabit this air space with? Will the crisis that has settled in on one house spill into ours? Do we think we are free from the anvil coming down on our heads? If I had endless words to share I would share story after story of friends who were not many moons past being the person who helped others and now find themselves as the person in need of help. I promise them they will help once again and they almost always immediately do, in offering of their hands and feet to the events and actions we offer.

It is my desire in the next two months to commit fully, purposefully, and with endless energy (God willing) to not only offer opportunities for those who can to help those who need, but also to open eyes, minds and hearts to understand it is not for us to judge, pry, or gossip, but I believe it is our blessing to offer what we can, as we are able, with a compassion for those who we are reaching our hand to, for it could be our turn on the mat with the wind knocked out of us tomorrow.

I really do not ask for much. It was not that long ago that I had little to offer myself, and could very much have been lifted in spirit and hope by the same generosity and compassion that I commit to today. I am not that person asking you to give until it hurts. I am asking you to intentionally offer from what you have to give: gently used surplus from your home to fill a void in another; a meal or parts of it that will join with other dishes to create a feast for a holiday table in a home that is aching; hands and feet in action helping to complete tasks that would otherwise not be completed; donations as small as a few dollars matched to others of the same that will and have met needs, lifted spirits, and made a difference in what appeared to be a hopeless situation. The “crumbs” from your table will nourish another (Sidenote: Please don’t give me “crumbs”, out dated food, broken items, worn clothes, or something that would not be suitable for your home/family/self. I have often received donations of that caliber and my heart aches when I have, for those who have given think those who are in need are less than worthy of better offerings than that.)

I am asking you to open your heart, mind and understanding that no one is exempt from crisis or life blows. That acceptance and empathy might help you to understand the homes that we can, and will bring light, love, and hope to. I ask that you not build fences holding those around you at arm’s length but to tear them down and pull those in need into your space, your heart, your prayers and into your intentional and compassionate actions.

I spent some time recently near the ocean, soaking in, studying and meditating on the symbolism of the waves. When the waves were crashing against one another the water was rough, tumultuous, ripe tides in effect, and the caution flag was raised, the atmosphere was stressed and the water seemed to be expressing warnings to all nearby to stay away. When the ocean was being gently caressed by the slow rolling movement of waves rolling in unison over the surface offering a gentle touch, moving as if to communicate a welcome to anyone who wished to enter and be comforted by them, the flag was green, the atmosphere was calm and hospitable and all who were near entered without hesitation wanting to be apart of such a peaceful and beautiful creation.
We are waves (friends) in this ocean (corner of the world) and we can create hostility, isolation and hurt feelings, or engage in acts of kindness, generating hope, spreading calm in other’s storms and sharing peace in chaos. We can put up the red flag or hoist the green, put one in need at arm’s length or pull them near and offer them our support and compassion.

I personally have chosen the later and hope you’ll join me. Creating not just ripples of kindness through our community, rather waves of change in how we think, act and love.
Moving in unison together creating a peaceful and beautiful corner of the world.

Wishing you peace & love,
Terri
http://www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

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From → Neighborly love

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