Spirituality, Liturgy and the Tao of Inner Peace
“Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” Matthew 25:44-45
As I walked today the temp here in north Alabama were hovering around 14 degrees with a wind chill of 9 degrees. As I topped the hill and turned to face north the blustering winter wind met my face, and even with my toboggan and neck warmer covering most of my skin, it was brutal. That got me thinking here I am walking to make a fancy gadget on my wrist read 10,000 when others are in this cold not by choice, but by necessity. How would it feel to sleep in this harsh, brutal cold not just for a 45 min walk but all night? To lay down and sleep when it gets dark and there is no more sun, just you and maybe a make-shift fire? So many of our homeless are veterans, men and women that fought for our country and now for one reason or another they are out in the cold, their sacrifices forgotten. Easy for us to dismiss in our cozy worlds by saying things like, they could work, or they could go to a shelter even they got themselves there through addiction or other bad choices so it’s their fault. I would offer a different perspective, there but for the grace of God go I, or you for that matter. If you don’t sufferer from mental illness you don’t know the struggle of the mind. If you have never fought in a war and come back with PTSD because of the experiences you had to endure, how do you know what you would do or not do? Addiction is so often judged by the non-addicted, but the truth is you have no idea the pain, the constant draw to something you know you shouldn’t do, but seem to have no control over. Lots of times it’s some of all of these things or even other events or circumstances. I honesty don’t care why I just care, as I walk in this brutal cold I think of my brothers and sisters out in the cold – both literally and figuratively.
Yesterday the high was around 27 degrees and as we left the grocery store there was a man with a sign reading “Anything helps, God Bless.” I didn’t see but my boys brought him to my attention and I immediately turned around the car to go back and give him the $2 in my purse. He didn’t look as I expected when we rolled down the window, he was a young, well groomed and seemingly fit. I hate to admit it but my first thought was, he could get a job. As we pulled away my oldest said you know he’s just going to use that for drugs. I immediately turned and said “What do I say?” He quickly recited “that’s between him and God.” That’s right, I continued we are commanded to give, what they do with it is on them. I quickly gave myself a talking to about my own judgement of the young man, I didn’t know his situation, he might be out of power or getting money for a wife and baby at home, anyone standing in 27 degree weather was worth a couple of bucks, and even if he was going to buy booze or drugs my money may have stopped him from a crime or stealing from family.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
How can we create a world that is less judgmental and more kind? How can we cultivate kindness, and love in our world? It starts at home, with teaching our children the precepts and ideas of the great spiritual leaders, whether that be Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, or Martin Luther King Jr. teach them! Following that we then need to respect each other for whatever way we choose to find the light. That light that says be kind, that light that made St. Francis seek to understand first, rather that to be understood. The great spiritual leaders that teach us, like Martin Luther King Jr., when faced with hatred to respond with love. Then we can cultivate those ideas and thoughts through out our day with friends, co-workers and all those we can influence. Do you look at the person checking you out at the grocery store? Do you call them by name? Do any of us take the time to ask ourselves what is my highest purpose with each individual God brings in my path? These are the thoughts and questions I am asking myself, I am pushing myself to be more present, more caring, to seek the moments I am graciously given where I might bring the Light! Where I might bring a smile, a bit of joy, or even some wisdom. Let’s be kind together, we might not change the world but we might change our lives and the lives of those around us, and isn’t that how a revolution begins?
May we also never take for granted a warm home, a coat, family or our health, because there are so many that would be grateful for those same things that we often take for granted.
Love On Another – Always
If you are in the North Alabama area and would like to make a difference please check out these two fine organizations:
Click Here for website: Downtown Rescue Mission
“The Downtown Rescue Mission is a nonprofit organization serving the homeless living throughout northern Alabama and southern Tennessee. We believe that through compassionate care and ministering, we can bring people under the power of the Gospel, so that they may have victory over their struggles and live a Spirit-filled and fruitful life.”
Click Here for website: First Stop
“Since 2001, First Stop, Inc. has devoted its energy to passionately advocating for the homeless in Huntsville by providing a path from homelessness to independent, sustainable living. Find out how you can contribute to the future of someone in need through donations of money and time.”