I want everyone to understand that there are always 2 sides to every story. You see a dirty, smelly homeless man. I see Steve, a former stockbroker who lost his money and wife and gave up on life. Steve is more than bad smells and dirt in his beard. He’s a guy trying to find a meal or a shower. Two sides to every story.
(please remember to also leave comments with the original post. I checked yesterday and a few of you did not. They did all the work not me and they deserve your view and comment, so visit the original page and leave them your comment. You would want the same thing done for you so don’t be a hypocrite or lazy. Danny)
Let me tell you a story about a leaf, and two different perspectives of the leaf. To one person the leaf was just a leaf something that starts on a tree and ends up falling to the ground, the leaf didn’t mean anything to him, just a useless leaf among the thousands of other leafs he has already seen. To another person this leaf meant a lot it provided shelter, clothing and protection, he depends on the leaf for many different things……moral of the story is that which perspective do you see things in? and in which perspective do you get shown stuff in?……there’s always two sides to a story or maybe more; sometimes its good to be a little open-minded and see things in a different perspective it will help you understand life a little better 🙂
I thought I would include links to the organizations that allowed us the privilege of volunteering this past Saturday. The first is called Finish The Wall and they are a charity that finishes up uncompleted buildings and projects that have no future plan for completion. They truly have a unique niche as they take over unfinished jobs and complete them to be used for humanitarian needs. They organize trips to other countries and also take on jobs domestically. Mary Padgett handles volunteer scheduling and she can be contacted through the website.
The second organization is Hoskins Park Ministries and they provide housing, support and employment for the homeless and those men recently released from prison. They house, mentor and educate 60+ men at any given time. They started with one house and operated the entire operation from that house. Now they have 13 houses, a tropical courtyard area with a gazebo and small pond. They have also constructed a meeting tent for church services, meeting and get-togethers.
Bill Brown is the onsite supervisor and gave us a wonderful tour of the facilities and talked extensively about their mission. It was an amazing and eye-opening conversation. If you live in the Charlotte area these groups need volunteers and donations. Tomorrow I am taking a coffee table, sofa table, books, clothing and house goods. They need everything and these men would appreciate you stopping by to chat for a while!
I want to encourage you to begin to live a life in which you focus on others some of the time. I am not challenging you to become the modern-day Gandhi where you quit your job, take up a life of mission work and trek off to save the world from poverty, hunger and war. I am simply saying that each of us need to consider what we are doing to make the world a better place in the form of helping.
I know for a fact that adopting the worldview of being charitable will bring you fulfillment in life. Giving your time, conversation, love and kindness to another human being will bring joy into your life and fill your heart in ways you never imagined. But you must actually take action and invest yourself to some degree in order to receive this into your life; sitting in front of your computer is not going to cut it.
I practice giving of my self, my time, my money and I am better off for doing so. My charity work with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society fulfills me in ways that I cannot put into words.
There are so many people in need in this world, people who simply want to have a conversation with someone who will stop and give them the time of day. Will you be that person? Are you willing to give up a few hours of your week to make a difference in a strangers life?
Having a heart for others brings fulfillment and joy to the heart in ways only charity can. There is a specialness in the action of giving with no expectation of reciprocation.
Only when we give joyfully, without hesitation or thought of gain, can we truly know what love means.” ― Leo Buscaglia
I encourage you to give of your time and experience the joy that I get to experience by helping others in need. When you give of yourself, there will be no need to seek fulfillment, fulfillment will find you.
Life can be tough sometimes. And human beings can be cruel, judgemental, harmful, manipulative and selfish. Everyday we must endure being cut off in traffic by people that think their time and life is more important than any one elses. Coworkers throw us under the bus to influence the boss that decides who gets the promotion. Mates lie to each other to hide affairs that fill a selfish lust. Let’s just say it…people can be incredibly selfish. Maybe it is in our DNA to be selfish to survive; survival of the fittest, if you will. After all if you don’t look out for yourself, then who will? People pass over the homeless as if they don’t even exist. Families leave loved ones abandoned in assisted living facilities because they just can’t find time in their busy schedules. Have we become reluctant to helping others due to the fear of violence we read in the news and see on our televisions? Do we assume someone else will volunteer to help? Do we have an obligation to step out of our little world and do for others? YES, YES AND YES!! And I believe that a large part of success, personally and professionally, hinges on how willing you are to help others with zero return on investment.
What has happened to our world? In 50 short years we have gone from never locking doors in Mayberry, to installing home alarm systems capable of protecting Area 51! We are inundated with stories of crime that have changed our perception of the world around us. Internet news, Facebook stories, Twitter feeds, television. The information of crime comes in fast and furious and from all directions. Friends tell us stories of friends robbed at gunpoint. Facebook tells us that mall parking lot robberies are the latest crime “fad.” The nightly news report talks about murders, wars and violence. And what this information tidal wave has done is manipulate our mind into thinking murderers, thieves and serial killers wait on every street corner just looking for their chance to harm us. In response, we shut out the world, only trusting those in the “circle of trust.” We develop a distrust in strangers in order to preserve our own safety. And sometimes there is need to be alarmed, but that does not mean we indiscriminately avoid helping anyone ever.
I routinely passed this guy at I85 and Sugar Creek Rd in Charlotte, NC that held a sign at the top of the interstate exit. I cannot recall what the sign said, but it was the usual “homeless, need work, I’m hungry” sign. I had seen the guy 100 times and usually hoped I didn’t end up stuck at the light with him standing right beside my car. But on this occasion a little voice in my head said “you should give him the change in the cupholder.” My first thought was why? He’s probably going to go buy booze or what if he’s the guy begging up a $1000/week, driving a new car?? But then my little voice said, “that’s none of your concern, just give.” So I did and I felt good for having done so. I had developed a habit of immediately deciding not to help and had allowed my heart to become hardened to others in need. And not just to that one homeless man, but to everyone. All of the negative crime related news had placed fear in me, and I created the habit of not engaging strangers to avoid harm. We learn habits that stand directly in conflict with everything that is being human. I cannot recall one spiritual or religious principle that says “under no circumstance are you to ever help your fellow man/woman!” Do not fall victim to the mentality that the world is so dangerous that it requires isolation for self preservation!! It is time to take a close look at ourselves and ask if we are reaching out to help others or if we live a selfish, self-focused life.
I have talked at length about identifying unproductive habits and replacing them with habits that will aim you at success. I believe this one habit change can singlehandedly change your life. I am not asking anyone to put themselves in harms way by marching into dangerous neighborhoods or saying throw caution to the wind. But, I am saying you need to develop the habit of thinking of others before yourself. I challenge you, as well as myelf, to go sign up to be a Big Brother or Big Sister. Volunteer for a month at a local assisted living facility. Commit 4 hours per week to help clean the kitchen at the homeless shelter. Do something that doesn’t revolve around you. Do something to help put a smile on another human beings face! I make few promises in life, but I promise your reward will be great when you help others. It will build your self-esteem, expand your worldview, increase your compassion and make you more sympathetic. But more importantly, you will help build someone else up! You can be a part of helping someone rebound in life and what could be more important than that?