"The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But who gets excited by a mere penny?...It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted with pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. what you see is what you get." ~Anne Dillard
A few of the small and wonderful things which bring untold joy into my life. It's the small things in life which truly mean the most. Simple abundance . . . it's the best.
When you are a person of tender heart it can sometimes be very difficult to grasp hold of the small and joyful things in life, especially when you see all of the war and strife and poverty in the world. It can make you question why are these things happening and why is it that I have been spared them in my life thus far . . .
I think it has ever been so. We live in a fallen world. Throughout time there has always been strife and sorrow in this world. There have always been wars and rumours of war . . . people starving, suffering, disease etc. It is hard to comprehend at times, to rationalise. You would think by now that the world would have learnt its lesson, but it has not. History repeats itself again and again. People suffer, destroy, get sick, die, etc.
In the world there are some who sit down to a banquet each night, and others who go to bed hungry each night. It seems almost hedonistic to want to cook, to enjoy cooking, to cook delicious recipes, to celebrate with food and the great variety of food that we enjoy, when others are going to bed hungry each night. I don't know the answer. I am only one. I cannot solve the problems in the world. I cannot feed all the people in the world, but . . . I can do whatever I can and even if it alleviates the suffering of one person, then it is something. Then it has made a difference. So I do what I can in the face of such sorrows and I have to content myself that I have at least done that and then I trust in the Lord and in His return one day, when he will put an end to all of that which is bad in the world.
And I am grateful that I am in a position to be able to make a difference. Even if just to one, for that is a blessing in and of itself. The blessing of service.
And there are many things which you can give which will make a difference. You can be generous in your fast offerings, in your donations to charity if you have the money to give. You can pop a tin of pet food into the box at the grocery store for needy pets. You can wrap a gift and give it to a children's charity which does this. You can do a shoebox to send to children in dire circumstances. You can help out at a charity which puts together boxes for the refugees. You can give of your time to a homeless shelter, helping them sort through donations or whatever. You can give to the local foodbank. You can be generous with your time, in visiting the sick and the weak, the lonely and the sad. How many people spend hours and hours on their own in old people's homes, or in hospital without family or friends to care for them or even to talk to. Become a volunteer. Do what you can, however little it might be. It all makes a difference.
Pick up the phone. Call that elderly person who could use a kind word, or even just someone to listen to them talk. Smile at the grumpy and reach out your hand. Be kind. Give whatever you have to give. It can be money of course, but there is also your time, your prayers, your heart, your service. Just do something for someone else and know that it makes a difference. Be kind. Just be kind.
Forget yourself and go to work. Even in the face of adversity or mocking . . . even when your heart is breaking, especially when your heart is breaking or you don't think you can face another jeer, or tear, or problem. That is when you need to reach out most of all and to serve. For it is in serving others that we recognise the true value of our own blessings. And if you are sitting here this morning reading this, you do have them. If you are in a dwelling in a peaceful nation with food to eat and clothes on your back, then you are amongst the richest in the world and you have something to give, even if you think it is not much. It means the world to others, no matter how small your efforts might seem to you . . . it IS can BE . . . everything, the world to someone else.
No, you will never be able to fix it all or make it disappear. That's a fact. But you can make a tiny difference. Can you imagine a world where everyone made even just a tiny difference for the good? I can. And it is a beautiful place. To be a part of that, to have even a small portion of the joy in making something like that happen, well . . . just WOW.
Perhaps having so much is just the Lords way of teaching us something about being able to reach out to others. About loving others. About helping others. About caring for others. There is no sin in having plenty or enough if you use at least a portion of that plenty or enough to make a difference, however small, to someone else.
How would we know how to care if there were no sick, no dying, no weary, no sadness?? How could we truly value peace if there was not also war . . . . which is not to demean the sick and the weary, the sad and the dying . . . the one who lives with war and fear and hopelessness . . . but there is a purpose in all the negativity in the world if only to give us the opportunity to give back a portion of what we have been blessedly given. We can be a light in the darkness and in being a light, our lives can have greater meaning and purpose.
And maybe I am just talking drivel, but it is how I feel in my heart . . . and how I am processing what I see happening in the world. And how I am dealing with it. If I do nothing, then I am a part of the problem, but if I do at least something, then I am a part of the solution.
That is the true meaning of Christmas, the spirit of Christmas. Giving. Giving of self . . . time, prayers, a portion of our abundance, our hearts, love . . . I am so grateful that I know this.
There is so much mean-spiritedness in this world. I was watching the video that little Cruz Beckham has done where all of the proceds are going to charity and there were so many negative nasty comments on the comments portion of the video on YouTube. I had to stop reading them and I thought to myself I hope that his parents don't let him see this. Here is a small boy who had done something, and yes, he is priviledged and has plenty himself. He probably gets plenty of pocket money, but he still has the charity in his heart to want to make a difference. I applaud that, and I applaud his parents in letting him do this, in teaching their children that a part of the responsability of having much is to give some of it back.
and I will get off my soapbox now. ☺ There is hope. There is love. It is not dead. It lives so long as even just one person holds the spark of charity in their hearts.
Some other small and wonderfuls for the week have been messages and e-mails from some of the younger missionaries we have served with expressing their love and gratitude for having served with us, Christmas Cards which drop through the letter box like little hugs from afar, puppy snuggles, Todd snuggles, talking to my eldest daughter via facetime, getting to talk to my mom, listening to the church's Christmas devotional, the Children's Nativity at church, writing up Doreen's Christmas Cards for her, doing my Visit Teaching for the month, etc. My cup does runneth over. 💓💝💓
A thought to carry with you through today . . .
“These things I have spoken unto you,
that in me ye might have peace.
In the world ye shall have tribulation:
but be of good cheer;
I have overcome the world”
Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . Pineapple Gingerbread Upside Down Cake.
May the week ahead of you be filled with many small and wonderful things. Along the way don't forget . . .
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And I do too!