Unless you can find a deserted island somewhere, your life will touch the lives of others and they will touch yours. Your decision to move to the deserted island would touch the lives of those you leave behind, either positively or negatively.
I have begun reading “One Simple Act; Discovering the Power of Generosity,” by Debbie Macomber, in which she writes about the rewards of small, generous acts, a truth I have already discovered many times. Whether you are on the giving or receiving end, such an act will have a very positive impact on your life. By the same token, spiteful and malicious actions will hurt both the originator and the target.
Recently I was very amply rewarded for a very small act of kindness. Several years ago, I saw a newspaper clipping in which a couple in Bloomfield, Iowa, were requesting, postcards for their 13-year-old son, Cameron Kenagy, who had cancer. I started sending him postcards from Kansas, about one a week for a while and then less and less often. Not long ago I had an impulse to send him a card, the first one in a very long time. I happened to mail it from Durham. Rhonda Davis Wedel, who grew up in Durham, has been teaching in Bloomfield and became a friend of Cameron. When he received my card, he jokingly told her, “My girlfriend sent me a postcard from Durham.” When Rhonda was married June 6, Cameron came to Kansas for the wedding, and Rhonda’s parents arranged for me to meet him in person. I think it was a rewarding moment for both of us. I know it was for me.
I am much more often on the receiving end of acts of kindness and I know they play a tremendous role in making my life happy. Recently I thanked a neighbor for coming to my place unasked to mow my yard. He said, “I am doing this for a very selfish reason; it just makes me feel good.” I hope all my many benefactors receive a blessing for their kindness.
After my husband passed away, I sometimes felt humiliated by the amount of help I seem to need just to cope with life. Then someone reminded me that Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Therefore, whenever we allow another person to help us, we are giving him or her a blessing. Jesus also said, “Whatever we do for others, we are doing for him.” By that logic, I have given a lot of people opportunities to mow Christ’s grass, take him to doctor’s appointments, and innumerable other favors.
As I get older and less physically fit, I have fewer and fewer opportunities to be on the giving end of acts of generosity and kindness. However, whenever I have such a chance I get a blessing.
A few months ago, I received a couple of anonymous letters, which could only be described as hate mail. They had a tremendous negative impact on my life. Briefly, I was thrown into a nearly suicidal depression. Then I thought of all my friends who do things for me without ever being asked, and I realized that for every person in the world who wants to hurt others, there are at least 100 who want to help. God bless them. Incidentally, I have also asked God to bless the anonymous letter writer, who is probably a very unhappy person.
We cannot choose not to touch the lives of others; we can only choose whether that touch is good or bad. Let’s all try to make others feel good. If someone always makes you feel good, try to remember to tell them once in a while. If somebody makes you feel bad, say a little prayer for them. Whenever I come across somebody who reads this column, it makes me feel very good. God bless you all.