Just Keep Giving
I think it's easy to forget that the smallest things sometimes make the biggest difference.
About six weeks ago, I decided I wanted to do something for the homeless. I didn't want to give them money because I didn't know how they would use it but I also didn't want to turn my head to their obvious suffering. I believe Christ calls us to be a friend and comforter to the lonely, poor, or hungry.
So I decided to make a few homeless goody bags. Six specifically: full of snacks, soup, Bible verses, socks, and a note. I really enjoyed making them- but even more so, every time I gave a homeless person one of my goodie bags, my heart was full of joy.
One day in fact, I was on my way to work- feeling quite incompetent, quite ungrateful, quite unsatisfied. When I saw a man on the side of the road, with a sign saying "Anything helps". I quickly waved him over, and gave him a bag. With a face beaming with joy, He said "Thank you and God bless." Immediately my personal attitude went from angry to blessed and thankful. I felt closer to God, almost immediately, weird.
You know, being completely honest, I want to help people on the daily. I believe Christ created us to give. I want to be a blessing because I know it draws us closer to God. And when I followed God into the career of nursing- I expected to give a lot- and feel like a superhero in return. The public hears alot of things about about nurses, and they are the ones known to help patients in hard times, be the comforter, be the listening ear, be the compassionate one. So I thought being a nurse, I would feel like I was making a difference, I would feel like I was bettering my patient's life.
But most nights that I go to work as a nurse, I feel tired, I feel frustrated with my patients and their parents. I make kids at the hospital cry alot because I have to give them shots, or put medicine in their iv's. I have to listen to their parents complain because their child is sick and maybe the doctor isn't giving them the medicine they want. I do my best to meet the families' requests but often it doesn't seem like I'm making any difference. Often I feel like I'm giving to no avail, and it's easy to get annoyed, it's tempting to want to yell "Just stop, I'm just a nurse I can't help you." And when I get home from work, I'm exhausted, I'm tired, I feel "over-given" and I want to replenish my strength by spending time for myself.
So often as a nurse, I don't feel like I'm making a big difference. But, like I said above, I think I'm slowly learning.
I think we all want to save the world. I think we all want to make a Big difference. But I think to truly be a difference maker you have to start with the people closest to you. You have to learn to love people, you have to learn to treasure the little things- to stay faithful in the small stuff.
My room mate is a nurse and one night recently when I had a hard week she took time out of her schedule to fold my laundry and clean my room for me. It might have not seemed like a huge deal to her but it really affected me. She is good at showing love in the little ways on the daily and this in turn reminds to be kind and generous in the little things. She also teaches me about being love to her patients: she laughs with them and tells them jokes to try and make them smile. Like me, she sometimes feels like she's not making a huge difference, but then there's nights where her patient's give her a hug and tell her that they'll miss her.
It's November- the most freezing season begins- and fast approaches Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have two choices for how we will focus on this season: self-gratification or thanksgiving. While self-gratification may look like stuffing our face on turkey, to-furkey, or too many cookies, black friday buying, or too many pumpkin spice lattes.. Maybe we should take some time to reflect: what does thanksgiving look like for you?
I think for me thanksgiving looks like being present in the moment and present to the people around me. Thanksgiving looks like taking the time to do the little things well- the things that are expected- jobs and duties- and also taking the time to do the extras, the un-asked for. Taking the time to give a gift to the girl who is lonely, baking cookies for a sad friend, or sending Christmas cards. It looks like giving a homeless bag to someone who is lonely, writing a letter to tell someone how much I care for them, and doing the dishes even if I don't cook.
So this November, this December let's remember the gifts we've received from God- the richness of blessings we have- and let's choose to give back in the little ways, in every way we can.
"But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand." 1 Chronicles 29:14