A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Lessons Learned on Love and Loss

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.

Lessons Learned

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

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Comments

  1. Great post, Faith. You are absolutely right to in saying that it’s better to listen to the little voice and take action than to think about it too much and miss the chance to make a difference. Even if you never know the results of your action, you have entered in with a heart of love and compassion. Let someone else be the one to sit on the sidelines!

  2. Oops! Left in an extra “to” in the second sentence. Copy editing fail!

  3. My thoughts go to your friend’s family and you in this difficult time. I can’t even imagine it.

    Thanks so much for sharing these tips to help others who are grieving.

  4. Every little thing that someone else can do for a person during a funeral planning and process is very helpful. When each of my parents passed away, I had an awesome group of ladies from church (it was a different church each time) who came an cleaned, brought food, served us, and then even packed the food up and put in the fridge. I was so mentally exhausted from having to plan everything, that not having to worry about any of that helped so much. I probably would’ve left all the food sitting out to be thrown away the next day.
    Even though making a meal may not seem like much, it is!
    And your other points are so right on as well. Having almost lost my husband 2.5 years ago, you learn to make life count!
    Bernice

  5. I have a friend who, every time she comes for dinner, gets up after the meal and helps with dishes until they are all done and my kitchen is sparkling. I love that about her! She doesn’t ask what needs to be done. She knows what needs to be done and does it.
    I couldn’t agree more with your advice to “just go ahead and do something.” Your first impulse is often right when it comes to helping a friend. Too often we feel awkward about helping out and over think it. Thanks for the reminder to “just do it!”

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