Do you ever have those times in your life that make you truly reflect? I’m not talking about the times where you’re washing dishes at the sink and stare out the window for two seconds and think, “I love my life,” or “I wish today would have gone better.” I’m talking about those moments that make you reflect so much that you actually change from them– moments or experiences where you can literally look back and say, “I’m changed for good because of…” (and yes, I stole that line from the “Wicked” soundtrack. What can I say? I’m hopelessly devoted to broadway shows.
For me, the past week hasn’t presented just one of these moments– there have been three. I think that’s God’s way of saying to me, “WAKE UP!” And the three…
Last Friday I attended a funeral for my friend’s mom. Although I didn’t know her well, I remember her being a woman of ultimate kindness and acceptance. She was one of those people who truly listened when you spoke. She didn’t just nod, waiting for her turn to speak her piece; she genuinely cared about what you had to say.
During the mass, the priest regarded this highly respected, loved and ultimately missed woman as an amazing grace. Those two words immediately brought tears to my eyes. Not only is that a song that “gets me” every time, but to hear him describe a person with this familiar adage was well, amazing to me. What a positive and unforgettable legacy to leave behind. I started to think about how proud my friend must have felt to be able to call himself her “son” and her his “mother.”
I began to think of the legacy I want to leave behind, how I want to be remembered when I’m gone. Needless to say, there’s lots of work that needs to be done. But I’m willing to do it. And that’s half the battle.
Live and Give Like No One Else
This past Sunday was the last week of Financial Peace University. We had more than 50 people graduate from the class, and although I was helping to lead them all to true financial stability and confidence, I think I got more out of it than anyone else in the room.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dave Ramsey’s plan, the last of his seven baby steps instructs you to GIVE. Whether it be your money, time or energy, GIVE to those around you who need it most. Being so caught up in budgeting, checking my spreadsheet and rechecking it about 10,000 times a day, the reason why we’ve been saving so diligently and spending so cautiously got lost. We’re doing this so later on in life we can GIVE to our church, GIVE to the organizations in our community that we feel led to support, GIVE to our neighbors who may find financial hardships or painstaking tragedy.
Sitting there last Sunday brought me back to the funeral and what was said about the precious woman this world lost. No, it’s not about your ability or inability to be philanthropic monetarily, but it’s about what you give and why you give. It’s about caring for your neighbor more than you care for yourself. Talk about leaving a legacy. Whether you can give $1 or $1,000 a week to a local charity, it’s where your giving nature is rooted from. Are you doing it to be recognized? Are you doing it because you feel like you have to? Or are you doing it because it’s the right thing to do? You’ll find that if you’re giving from your heart and not necessarily from your head, the rest will follow.
Do Unto Others…
The week couldn’t have ended any more ironically. After the two revelations I described above, a day later I found out a little girl who goes to the same babysitter as my daughter lost everything in a house fire. Not only was she left without any clothes, toys or furniture, her mom is expecting another baby in a few months, and they lost all the baby items they had been saving.
After finding this out, I immediately felt a pang in my heart. I needed to do something, something that would give this family a sense of hope and maybe even peace during this horrific time. I just kept picturing the little girl’s sweet face and how innocently she always looks up at me with her big, brown eyes. Although only 4 years old, too young to really understand, I know it’s something she will never forget. Not only will fire be branded in her mind forever, but I want those thoughts to be almost masked by the generosity and selflessness people demonstrated during an extremely difficult time for her family.
With that in mind, I spread the word as quickly as I could (thank you social media,) and I had friends and family donating everything they possibly could: clothes, toys, furniture, baby items, etc. People were so willing to GIVE. YAY! As I was feverishly trying to manage all the donations (what a great problem to have, right?,) I started to pose the same questions to myself as I asked above. Why was I doing this? Why was I investing so much effort and so much time? It boiled down to a simple rule, the golden rule actually. “Do unto others as you would have them to do you.” Such a simple concept, but not easy to authenticate each and every day. But it was enough to get me to swing into action, so it must have some type of moral weight to it, right?
I think we all stumble upon reflective moments in our lives that can lead to a true and permanent change. But I believe whole-heartedly we need to be mindful and accepting of those moments, otherwise they can easily go unnoticed. After all, the only thing that’s constant in this world is change. So be amazing. Spread grace. And give.