Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The want of many

Well, it is that time of year again.  My third annual 29 gifts project has begun.  Every year, I think I'm too busy to do it again, yet there is no question that it is something I need. It changes my life.  It sets the new year on a course of gratitude.

I'm already on day 4 of the gifts project.  I've been posting my efforts on Instagram.  I want to make something clear...I do not do this experiment in giving, to draw attention to myself.  I don't post my experiences and gifts because I think I'm all that or something amazing.  I do it, because I have a deep passion about where we are going in life.  Where we are all going in life.

We spend so much time anymore, to ourselves.  We take a few minutes, more than we should, liking a Facebook post, as if a 'thumbs' up is going to change things for good or for bad.  We plead on our social pages for prayers, we air our troubles and we dutifully comment to others that a prayer will be said, a thought will be given.  We share cryptic messages, afraid to really be seen or heaven forbid, appear less than perfect.  We share our joys, and triumphs and we give the universal sign that our nearest and dearest are liked, at least.  We do all this and end the day with impostor feelings that we really connected with people, but did we?

There is so much want in the world, at least in my world.  People want to be noticed, really noticed.  People want to connect with someone for real. People want to be seen, appreciated, loved.  People want a sense of belonging, even before they want food, clothing or shelter.  We have lost our sense of security, belonging and even a place of self.  Among all this want is suffering.  When we don't have the basics of life, we suffer.

Not only do I see this in the world around me but I feel some of these things myself. We can either let our trials and hardships make us bitter, or we can let them make us better.  I know the past year has been hard.  I have spent a great deal of time trying to figure things out and complaining but at the same time, pursuing happiness that can feel so fleeting at times.  I will go to great lengths, make whatever sacrifice is necessary to teach my kids that happiness, no matter what is happening at home, comes from giving yourself to others.  You give away, the very thing you need yourself.

So, for me, 29 gifts isn't about attention or some grand scheme, it's simply about trying to give to someone, love that is deficient in all of us, no matter who you are.  Feeling loved, remembered, considered, in real terms is a balm of peace and the spirit of happiness and it is in great shortage these days.  Loneliness is becoming chronic, thanks in part to the smoke and mirrors of social media.

It constantly amazes me that people make comments like, "I wish I was more like you."  or "You are amazing."  I'm not amazing...there is nothing amazing or super human about giving one hour of your time to watch a kid so the parents can have a break.  I don't have any special skill sets for babysitting, I'm not the baby whisperer...I'm nothing.  I'm you, I'm everyone else you meet along the path of life. I'm just trying to find happiness and peace myself.  I'm trying to be the disciple of Christ I signed up to be.  I'm trying to save myself, my kids and maybe someone else who is a recipient of love.  Anyone can do this.  I'm nothing special.  Giving gets us beyond ourselves, over ourselves; it leverages us from a mire of problems.

Each year, I extend a challenge to anyone who wants to do this with me or do start their own challenge.  Filling the want of many starts with one little loving gesture at a time.  I post these ideas to inspire you!  Do something...one little thing.  Make a difference.  I promise, it will change your life. It will displace the feelings of stress, overwhelm, even despair in your own heart.

Sam helping me assemble blessing bags for Hope Lodge.  A place for people receiving cancer treatment in Utah to stay and be taken care of. 

This was day one...I made several gratitude journals to give away

I offered to babysit for a family who has an autistic son.  

The finished blessing bags for Hope Lodge. 


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