Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gratitude Comes from the Heart

I think we've all felt some frustration with the Christmas season creeping over other holidays. Holiday decorations begin to show up in stores as early as September. Overall, as a holiday, Thanksgiving has always seemed overshadowed by Christmas, a time of giving gifts and celebrating with family. However, the truth is that the "spirit of Christmas" would be lacking without the prior presence of Thanksgiving. Peace, true peace, comes from a recognition of our many blessings, an acknowledgment that those wonderful things owe their existence to a Source greater than ourselves.
This Thanksgiving, try setting down the "Black Friday" sales flyers, turning off the game (at least for a few minutes), and taking time to count your blessings. There's no need to take turns around a table or scrounge up something that makes you sound deeply spiritual. Find a quiet place, away from the noise and the rush and the "busyness" to really examine your heart and life for the good things you'll find there.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Finding the Balance with Compassion

In a recent article, Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was quoted as saying "let your heart break." She was addressing that awkward feeling of paralyzing guilt when you look at the troubles of others and compare it with your own life.

It is very easy to find bad news. There is no difficulty in finding people who need help. Often times, we can become overwhelmed by the heart breaks and tragedy that are a part of the fallen world in which we live. The way many people deal with this is to compartmentalize. We find this often as a non-profit. There are communication opportunities available for businesses that are not available for us. People are hesitant to "mix" happy, fun events with awareness of real problems. "That just brings everybody down...right?" We feel guilty enjoying the blessings of our life when faced with the reality that there are people who don't have those blessings. However, we can't just ignore very real needs in our community.

So, what is the answer?

The answer is to let your heart break. Feel compassion. This is healthy! It's okay to want to do something. Just as it is okay not to take on the weight of doing everything. No one can do everything, not even Melinda and Bill Gates. But we can all do something.

Choose a passion. Don't let guilt be the motivating factor in any decision making process. Let me repeat that: don't let guilt be the motivating factor in any decision making process. Be wise in how and where and why you offer help. Sometimes, our impulsive gestures, based on fleeting feelings of guilt, actually cause more harm than help. It's okay to think about things.

My hope is that when you support a non-profit, like the City Rescue Mission, you truly feel you are part of a team, working toward something you believe in. We encourage you, if you'd like to know more about the Mission and how we're meeting needs in our community, come for a visit! On the first Thursday of every month, we have a director's luncheon. You'll have the opportunity to talk with Mission staff, visit our facility, and hear from guests how supporters of the Mission have made a difference in their lives.