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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Reaching Beyond Ourselves...


So I saw an interesting article by Deborah Grau on Yahoo the other day, which described a project actor Matt Damon has helped to start.  According to her article, Matt and water specialist Gary White have begun an effort to help people in poverty around the world gain access to clean water.  Their non-profit, called Water.org, helps develop ready access to water so that individuals no longer have to spend major portions of their day obtaining water. Resulting in opportunities for work and school.  

I don’t know much about this particular project, but have seen others along similar lines, but I like the idea that they are addressing real needs for people who desperately struggle in our world.

I believe it is important to be involved in something bigger than yourself.  

As I like to say, a bit tongue in cheek, with the big push of I-phones, I-pads and selfies, people just don’t seem to care enough about others.   I’m always glad when I see celebrities who are so often treated like demi-gods, move past that to find causes beyond themselves, as Oprah has done with her schools, or Brad Pitt and Angela Jolie have done with the children they have taken on, or as I just learned about, Matt Damon. 

Those actions make important examples, and there are a number of people of wealth who do try to use their position to make a real difference for others.  I am also aware that studies indicate that poor people can also be generous and sensitive to the needs of others, sometimes in higher percentage of income than the very wealthy.  It isn’t, therefore, how much you have to offer, but how much you offer of what you have.  But I think it is important that we not only be generous, but generous in ways that truly meet the real needs of others.

When someone is going through a divorce, the struggle can be very consuming and one can become rather self-absorbed.  I always encourage divorcing people to find some way to make some difference in the lives of others.  Serve at a soup kitchen, help out at a local homeless shelter, tutor a struggling child, find another person new to divorce and let him/her know there is someone they could talk to if the need ever arises.  It doesn’t matter so much what you do  as that you do something to make a difference beyond your own world.

Sometimes we can make a difference in the most basic of needs, such as Damon’s efforts with clean water.  Sometimes money is so tight that the difference we can make is more about the giving of ourselves and our encouragement than the dollars we pass along.  There are a lot of very lonely people in the world who would love to have just one good friend, or know that somebody cares that they are struggling.  A simple phone call or well written e-card can brighten somebody’s day more than you may think.  In a day and age where people seem to becoming more and more self-centered, would you be willing to be one who helps turn the tide around?

These books I have written are one of the ways I have been trying to help other people who have been struggling, because I know personally how difficult divorce can be.  

A good resource with words of encouragement and guidance would have been something I would have appreciated during my divorce journey, but little was available in the churches around where I was, or was of limited time and help.  

My hope is that these books will help fill that void, and be tools God can use to touch the hearts and lives of individuals caught up in divorce.  I have been especially moved when I have seen evidence that they have helped someone, such as the times I have received notes from folks who have read the books, or as I see a variety of names of people who appreciate something I have written in a blog and I realize that I don’t recognize a single name. 

No matter how difficult your life is right now, or how good things are for you, there are people out there waiting for somebody like you to show you care.  It is good medicine for the troubled soul, the best antidote to selfishness and a great demonstration of God’s love.  Of all the blogs I have written, don’t let this one be something you simply read.  

Instead, let it be something that causes you to examine your life as you put actions to ideas by reaffirming your involvements with others or stepping out into some new venture of caring.  

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