Those with no boat at all…

October 12, 2020

“Although we are in different boats, you in your boat and we in our canoe, we share the same river of life.”  (Chief Oren Lyons)

That was the quote from a Native American in today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog. It is easy to conjure up mental images of boats of all type, sizes and color floating or motoring along the vast river of life. One can even imagine clusters of people floating along on inner tubes (perhaps those are the retirees). But it’s harder to imagine being swept along by the river with nothing, no canoe or boat, not even an inner tube; but, that is the fate of the homeless. They are still there, in the river that the rest of us are on, but with no support at all. Perhaps they are just floating on the surface or maybe frantically dog paddling to keep afloat.

There is a tendency to try to ignore those people, lumping them in with the debris that we may also see floating in the river; however, we really can’t ignore the fact that, “there but for the grace of God go I.” They are other human beings; members of our tribe of humans who need and deserve our help. We cannot sweep them under the rug or pretend that they are not there, in the river with us. There may not be room in your boat for another rider; but perhaps there is a spare life vest in your boat that you could toss to them to help. If you look, you may find that there are programs already in place in your area to provide some assistance and help to the homeless. If so, maybe you can volunteer in those programs or at least contribute to them.

There are others floating along the river of life in vessels that are sinking. They may be depressed or suffering other mental issues or perhaps trapped in abusive relationships. Perhaps they have sent up flares of distress for other to see. Again, it is easy to try to look the other way, ignore their calls for help and by-pass their sinking boat, but it is not the right things to do. Hold out your hand and pull them back up as they sink. Sometimes just encouraging them to abandon that abusive, sinking ship is enough

The river of life that we are all on is not always a calm, peaceful stream. It has rough patches, like the rapids in real rivers. There are dangerous rocks and even waterfalls that we must navigate from time to time. Those times test our boats and us. If we have a boat with a strong keel, we have a better chance at survival. The best keel of all for life’s boats is a strong faith in God. That faith will not only keep our boat afloat, but it will also provide us with a rudder of compassion that will guide us to help those that we see along the way who don’t even have a boat.

In the Bible we read – But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? (1 John 3:17). Therefore, the message is to thank God for the strong boat that he has provided for you in order to enjoy life’s ride down life’s river and to be ready to offer help to others whose boat may be sinking or who don’t even have a boat.

We maybe be all ON the river of life, but there are those who are IN the river and need our help. Be ready to throw a lifeline.

There’s no better time than now…

December 21, 2015

“You can never do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”  (Emerson) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Now is the best time to take action on whatever act of kindness you may have in mind. That is especially true if that act involves an elderly person. Do it now; whether it is a visit with them in their home or retirement saying hellohome, or perhaps taking them some food, maybe some Christmas cookies, or maybe even seeing if you can take them somewhere to get some shopping done for other errands. Don’t spend time lamenting your coulda, woulda, shoulda’s later, when it is too late to help or to visit.

My mom’s favorite saying was, “The road to hell is paved with good hurry hurryintentions.” Of course you had every intention of visiting with them and helping were you could, but life got in the way. You became more than a distracted driver; you were living a distracted life. The distractions of work and family and everyday life pulled you so many directions that heading in the right direction and doing what was right became impossible. So, you put many of those things off until later. Until you realize that it is too late.  Later is when you lament – “I know I should have…”

The good news is that it isn’t too late. It is still right now and right now you can still make the right choice to do the right thing. But what about my life, you say? It’s funny how people who do the right thing find that life takes care of itself and for many even gets a whole lot better.

So, right now; while you are thinking about it; think of those things that Do you need a hugare acts of kindness and sharing and loving that you’ve been meaning to do, turn your thoughts into actions. Make that phone call or go make that visit. Give that special person in your life that hug that you’ve been meaning to give them and pause to tell them that you love them.

Maybe you thought about calling Meals on Wheels and see if you can deliver meals over the Holidays. Or many be you’ve been meaning to volunteer at the local Rescue Mission to serve meals to the homeless. Perhaps you can take some spare coats and blankets and clothing to the shelter for homeless veterans. Maybe you caregiverknow of someone who has lost a loved one and may need some special words of hope and encouragement this Holiday – call them or go visit with them. Maybe, if you call the local retirement homes in your area and ask you’ll find that there are residents there who have no one to visit with them over the Holidays, and that will provide you with your opportunity to show kindness and compassion.

It will feel so good lying in bed tonight and reflecting on the good that feel good mondayyou’ve accomplished; rather than lying there saying, “I know I should have…” Will your act of kindness change the world? No, but it will change the world for that one person towards which you showed the kindness; and it will likely change the world for you, too. It’s not too late to start today.

Have a great and sharing week ahead.