Halloween – we give candy.
Thanksgiving – we give thanks.
Christmas – we give gifts.
New Year’s – we give toasts.
Valentine’s Day – we give flowers.
So what do we give in March?
We could limit ourselves to Irish blessings for Saint Patrick’s Day. With Easter in March this year, we could hand out candy, baskets, or hardboiled eggs.
But what would happen if we gave ourselves?
Some folks say they live paycheck-to-paycheck, so they don’t have anything to give. That’s not what I’m talking about. We can give “stuff” anytime. I’m thinking of downsizing, so I have tons of “stuff” to pass on to unsuspecting friends and family. (That’s your only warning!)
Try sharing something besides “things.”
Giving yourself costs very little. Just think of someone else instead of Number One. And that person may live in the same house as you.
Who do you know that needs a friendly face, a hug, a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on? Lots of my friends are losing elderly parents, so they’re looking for someone to let them talk. All that it would cost me (or you) is time – on the phone, over the kitchen table, and maybe a little gas to meet them somewhere.
My friend Patty has what she calls her “Card Ministry.” She sends a card to anyone who needs encouragement or thanks. And she writes a personal message, so it’s not just a pre-printed poem. It may not seem like much, but for people who receive those words of cheer, it can brighten an otherwise gray day. I know. I’ve received several.
Let’s go a step farther and give them something tangible: take supper to their house or treat them to lunch. Invite them to join you and other friends for an outing. Sit with them at church. Again, it doesn’t need to cost a lot. Simply take the time to find out what they need and provide it.
Having been through a divorce, several moves, an incarcerated child and a prodigal son, and loss of a husband, I’ve needed a lot of support. And every time, loved ones helped.
Sometimes, a friend lets everyone know that they need something. They might post on social media about an illness or injury. When you read it, contact them personally and offer help.
Other folks aren’t so public. They may need meals, a house vacuumed, or someone to drive them to the doctor, but they don’t know who or how to ask. That’s when you can reach out with a phone call. Or, as one friend puts it, “swoop in and save the day.”
When my husband was dying of cancer, friends would say, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.” One time – only one time– I actually answered. “Well, I need someone to mow my lawn.” Unfortunately, that friend said he couldn’t do it, but if there was anything else, he’d be glad to help. I didn’t ask again.
Another friend called and said, “I’m making stew and peanut butter cookies on Tuesday. Could my husband and I bring them over and have supper with you that night?” That elicited an easy “Yes!” from me. And we appreciated the time together more than the food.
So what can you give? And to whom? Look at those closest to you and see where you can fill in some gaps for them.
I spent a weekend helping a friend work on a fundraiser. She slaved away from morning to night, leaving her husband alone. I noticed that he was becoming irritable so I mentioned that he missed his wife. She looked at him amazed, and he just shrugged his shoulders. My gift to them? I went to bed early so they could watch a movie together and fall asleep on the couch. They both thanked me.
Simple as that.
Give of yourself. Your friends will love you even more.
Images courtesy of digitalart, FrameAngel, and Hin 255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net