I'm reading the book "What On Earth Have I Done?" by Robert Fulghum and just had to copy down a couple things he has written, just so I have them for future reference- but also to share, just in case someone is needing to hear this right now:
In his book he's talking about passing beggars on the street, but this could be applied to so many circumstances-
"I could do more. Right. And God and the government could do more. Right. Society could do more. Right. But never mind all that. In the meantime I am there at the existential intersection- in the moment- with more than I need. And they are there- in the moment- asking for help. And no matter what I do, I will go away feeling that nothing is finally resolved.
Maybe that's my problem: this matter of having something 'finally resolved.' Wanting to do good and feel good at the same time. Wanting a permanent, surgical solution when a temporary bandage is all that the moment requires. Having great expectations when a small kindness is enough. Hopelessly confusing the need to have a final YES or NO with the reality that only untidy MAYBE is ever possible.
I must not pass by- I cannot. Maybe being a bleeding heart is always better than having no heart at all."
Ok, the first thing is his comment about being there in the moment. God uses us to bless the lives of others. He often places us in the right place at the right time to help someone in need. We need to remember that through small and simple things great things are brought to pass. The solutions to the problems around us aren't going to be solved by the government, by institutions or by miraculous heavenly intervention. Each individual is a part of the solution. And each of us has the responsibility to do whatever we can to alleviate the suffering of those around us. We ARE the heavenly intervention that God sends to people.
I was also struck by his comment about needing a definite YES or NO. It seems to be a universal human tendency to want things to be black or white, clearly defined. We want specific directions and no confusion on what to do. But that's a tendency we have to learn to overcome. Life is filled with many situations where there is no right or wrong choice. And God often leaves decisions up to us, letting us find our way through trial and error. He doesn't give us a YES or NO... sometimes He gives us a MAYBE, and sometimes He just holds back and waits until He sees our first move... and then gives us a little push in the right direction. MAYBE may be untidy sometimes, but we can learn so much from cleaning up the messes we make.
The next quote really made me stop and think about how much we worry about what others think of us... and the things we hold ourselves back from because of it.
"...The first time I went to a Cretan village wedding, I sat on the sidelines when the dancing began. I'm not Greek. I don't look or dress Greek. And the Greek's fancy footwork intimidated me. 'Don't make a fool of yourself,' I thought. Reading my mind, an older woman dropped out of the dance, sat down beside me, and said:
'If you do not join the dancing, you will feel foolish. If you dance, you will also feel foolish. So, why not dance? And I will tell you a secret: If you do not join the dance, we will know you are a fool. But if you dance, we will think well of you for trying. And if you dance badly to begin and we laugh, what is the sin in that? We all begin there. Come on.'
Why not dance the dance of fools, and laugh the fool's laugh, and wear the fool's outfit, and care less about how I impress others?"
Fear of humiliation and fear of "making a fool of ourselves"... aren't these the things that hold us back the most? Let's worry about God's opinion of us, and not other peoples'. I think that's one of the keys to more fully enjoying life.