You might think this is gonna be a real preachy post about The Golden Rule. Or maybe you think I’m going to spout off about some random event that makes me want to half-quote Scriptures to make them fit my situation. But I can promise you it’s neither of those. “Do Unto Others” simply is the best description I can think of right now for what I am feeling inside as my next push for a challenge. i mean, raise your hand if you have NEVER heard of the Golden Rule :”Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done To Yourself”. My mom used to sing us a song (that apparently she made up so maybe no one else has heard this…) but it went something like
Go to sunday school, learn the Golden Rule,
Early Sunday morning, Go to Sunday School –
always be on time, give your tithing dime –
Every Sunday morning – Go to Sunday School.
I have no idea why I got off on that tangent…because really it doesn’t have much to do with this blog other than the fact that it references the golden rule. apparently if you don’t know about it it’s because you were late to Sunday School and/or just never made it there.
Anyways – here’s what I’ve been thinking.
I struggled a lot this past spring with “depression”. Clinical, weather induced, stress induced – whatever you want to call it. My brain was in a state of chemical imbalance for any number of reasons, and this made me unable to be in a “happy” place with myself. I think, if we are all honest with ourselves, there is probably some period of “depression” for all of us. “Baby Blues”, “Winter Blahs” – it has a lot of different faces and causes and varying degrees of severity. And i am not talking here about someone who has actual clinical depression and is under the care of a doctor with medications for this – I’m talking about that dreary blah attitude that so many moms are prone to. We try to do it all and be it all and have it all – or not even have it all but at least try to have “most” of it. Anyways – we’re all striving for something – and sometimes you just hit your breaking point. Dads too – and even people who aren’t parents – all of you – i am talking to anyone and everyone who has ever felt EMOTIONS.
But what has me thinking these days is this – what snaps you out of that funk? When you get INTO a funk like that – is it because of your circumstances? Probably. You are stuck in a hospital room or you are faced with a pile of unpayable bills or your kids are fighting nonstop or you feel unappreciated by your boss/kids/wife/husband and you are just DONE. Stuck firmly in a swamp of “woe is me”. It’s normal. Unfortunately we all feel it. And the more stuck in that swampwater of focusing on ourself we get, the more we surround ourself with thoughts of more reasons why the world is against us and we are right to feel sorry for ourselves. If you feel like I’m talking to you – I probably am. But more so, I’m talking about myself. I’m sharing with you where I was – where I still struggle to NOT be most of the time. And to SO MANY OF YOU – you have been what snaps me out of it. Your small simple acts of giving – of a gift card, a pack of diapers, a mountain of toilet paper – these have all been what keeps me out of the looney bin, truly. I wonder if some of you even know how much your selfless acts of giving have meant to me and my family on a day to day basis.
Think about the last time you were truly truly truly happy. I’ll give you a few minutes. It could have been a few hours ago or it could be weeks since you can pinpoint something. But try to remember what it was that was going on when you felt like all was right with the world.
Ok now tell me – was it a time that you were doing something JUST for you, all by yourself, no other people necessary or involved? (If you’re a stay at home mom or someone who just does not like people but has to work with them anyways – your answer may have been yes. and that’s fine, but you’re throwing off my bell curve here!)
My point is this – most of our times of true happiness come when we are doing something for someone else. Doing Unto Others. Maybe it was the look on your children’s faces on Christmas morning or a birthday, maybe it was working together on a service project of some kind, maybe it was being part of a surprise to leave a Starbucks giftcard in the mailbox of someone who just needed a little pick me up. But the times that we as humans feel most grounded, most happy, most content – is USUALLY when we get out of our own minds, and do something for someone else.
I’ve rambled on about this enough I think. You get my point.
here’s the challenge – Do something nice and unexpected for someone else. ESPECIALLY if you are feeling in a funk yourself – but even if you feel mostly ok – think of SOMETHING that you can do for SOMEONE else. Here’s some ideas:
- Next time you are going through the Starbucks drive-thru, get a $5 gift card to pass on to someone else. Leave it taped to their door or in their mailbox with a note that says you hope they enjoy a little treat.
- Find an opportunity to volunteer at a non-profit service agency near you. “Feed My Starving Children” is a popular one around here – where you can go into their warehouse facilities with a group of other people, and learn about packing up meals for relief agencies in places like Africa and the Middle East to provide meals for kids in famine-stricken areas. There are ALWAYS shelters that need help organizing, preparing and serving meals, etc.
- Call up a friend and ask if you can bring dinner by for their family – just because. It doesn’t have to be anything hugely fancy or home-cooked even. Sometimes just asking for their favorite pizza toppings and having Papa John’s deliver it will be enough of a treat/surprise in itself!
This doesn’t have to necessarily be anonymous – unless you want it to be.
So i started writing this post two days ago and I came back to it and feel disjointed and like I want to delete all of this and start over. But something’s telling me that SOMEONE needs to read this today. So i’m going to leave it. I hope that it does help someone out there. I know that for me, i’m going to be looking for more little opportunities to make a bigger difference for others – starting with my own family and friends. Letting them know how much i love and appreciate them!
And now for the challenge part of this – I challenge everyone who is or who has read this to try it. Just once! The very next time you start up that pity party – stop it – and force yourself to think of how you can do something for someone else instead. And of course, I would LOVE to hear that you did it. You don’t have to share the details with me – but let me know you tried it! If you have other ideas, or if you have had someone DO something for you like this, share them here with us! (Or go to the facebook page and share them there! that would be fun too!)
Ok sorry for the rambly nature of this one. It was just something I felt like i had to get out.
hope you all have a beautiful day! And stay warm! Here in the Chi – fall is definitely HERE to stay. Brrrr…
See you on the flipside!