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Look Out: Light a Candle and Be a Bridge

vicki hinze, my faith zone blog

Written by Vicki Hinze

On January 18, 2014

Bridge-WalkerCandle

Warning:  I do not edit posts.  This is my chat-time.  
 
 

At times, we all get so caught up in our own world or troubles we ignore the others who are suffering, lost, stumbling in the dark.  Our worries are on our minds, and that’s human.  We take our responsibilities seriously.  But often we get so mired in our own lives, we neglect the needs of others.  And it is often in looking out, doing what we can for them, that our solutions to our own challenges become clear.

We are charged with the duty to love one another.  I’m first in line to say, sometimes that’s hard.  But I’m also first in line to say that we don’t not do what we should just because it’s hard.

When I was a little girl, my dad used to say, “If it were easy, anyone could do it.  You noticed it, that means it’s your job to do something about it.”

My first instinct was that it’d be best not to notice anything. I’m laughing because that is the logical, youthful response.  But as adults, we realize that we don’t ignore the pain of others.  We do what we can.  Sometimes, the smile we offer is the only smile that person will see today.  The one kind word she or he will hear.  And we easily imagine ourselves in that needy person’s shoes, walking in their world, and we know how badly we would need that smile or kind word.

I grew up with a brother who was a vegetable.  For eighteen years, my mother cared for him at home.  He couldn’t talk.  He couldn’t sit up.  He had the mind of a five-month-old child.  He ate baby food, drank a bottle, wore diapers.  She bathed and fed and read to him.  Cared for him as we do for infants–for eighteen years.  She couldn’t leave him to even go to the grocery store.  When she did, he would spike a horrific fever and go into convulsions.

One day when I was a teen, it occurred to me that the way she lived her life was not typical.  Yes, it was normal all my life, normal for us and our family, but it was not normal for other families.  I asked her if she didn’t get tired of it.  Taking care of a baby all these years.  Any mother can tell you that caring for an infant is extremely demanding and the only thing that gets mothers through it is the amazing power of love they feel for the child.

My mother looked at me as if I’d lost my mind.  “Do you think God would give a special child like this to just anyone to care for?  He chose me.  Out of all the people in the world, he chose me.”

She looked outward, not in.  She didn’t look at her life as restricted but as blessed.  God trusted her above all others to care for his special child.

I learned a lot about looking outward from my mother and her attitude.  I learned that the way we view things has an immeasurable impact on how we handle them.

She had her hands full with my brother.  But she somehow always had time for me.  She had time for friends who dropped in for coffee.  To teach a neighbor to read.  Another to count money.  To listen to the woes of other kids and to dry their tears and bind their broken hearts.  Yet when she grew very ill and we feared her time to leave here was near, she worried that she hadn’t been there enough for others.

That just wasn’t possible.  I’d lived there and seen how she reached out.  But from her view, she thought she could have done more.  She wished she had done more.

Two points in that.

We often don’t see how the things we do bless others.  To us, those acts are routine and insignificant.  But they aren’t insignificant to those in need.

We often don’t see what most matters.  In looking back at her life, it wasn’t all she’d missed that she regretted, it was not reaching out more.  Being, she felt, a better person.

There’s much to be learned there.

While we look within, and that’s important, we need to also reach out to others.  We need to not neglect but notice.  We need to light a path that those lost and stumbling can follow.

If we do, then odds are good when we’re stumbling or lost, a path will be lighted for us to follow.

Today, pause a moment and light a candle for someone else.  Someone lost or struggling, or someone who has been a blessing to you.  Look within and then reach out.  It costs you but a moment of time.  Be a blessing, a bridge-walker and light a path.

———

My thanks to Grateflness.org for giving others the opportunity to light candles online.

To URL to light a candle, should you not be able to use the above link is:

http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=Bridg

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