My best friend’s father passed away this week. To say it was unexpected is a huge understatement. To see my friend and her family shattered by this loss is just gut wrenching.
I always feel so helpless when someone near to me loses someone they love. I want so desperately to reach out and let them know how I hurt for them and love them. It frustrated me that the only thing that came to mind was . . . making food. I pushed the thought away as quickly as it came. “Surely everyone will be bringing food. How could I make any difference?”
Turns out though, food was exactly what they needed. So I helped prepare and serve food for 40 very appreciative family members on one of the hardest days of their lives. In the process, I learned several important lessons.
Don’t question the little voice in your head. That little voice is often the smartest part of you. It comes from our impulses, gut reactions, and intuition. Too often we let reason and doubt overshadow our purest thoughts.
Don’t assume you can’t make a difference. Even tiny gestures can touch people’s lives. A meal, a card, a phone call, an email, a hug, a smile . . . all these things are meaningful and appreciated.
Don’t ask for an invitation. Show initiative and don’t wait for someone in need to ask for help. Instead of saying “Let me know if you need anything” just go ahead and do something. Sometimes people don’t know what to ask for and it’s hard to know which people are sincere and which people aren’t.
Don’t plan tomorrow without living today. As much as we want to focus on the future, we can’t take for granted each day we have now. I have been far too busy lately as I strive to make progress towards all these goals that I have. This week has reminded me again, that I need to appreciate the time and the people in my life right now because I’m not promised a tomorrow.
Don’t focus on the negatives. As I was reflecting on my week and the lessons I’ve learned, my thoughts drifted to the old Disney movie, Pollyanna. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a movie about a young girl who insistently focuses on the positives in life instead of the negatives. Her perspective on life is glaringly different than those around her, but what a great way to live life! Focus on the good instead of the bad and look for silver linings every day.
Is your inner voice nudging you to reach out to someone today? I encourage you to take action and look on the bright side of life today.
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Article originally published on 08/15/2011