Not too long ago, another Christmas came and went. I remember sitting back on that holiday after spending about six hours in the kitchen with my lovely wife, patting my stomach, and realizing that once again I’d eaten a little more than was comfortable. I thought to myself just how blessed most of us are.
I happened to mention to my wife a thought that had just come across my mind: love is the great equalizer. I’ve met so many people who are much less fortunate than I, yet most of them are happy. Their contentment rests in the love they share with another. If you give this a little thought, then you realize just how important your dear ones are.
As You Give, So Shall You Receive
One of my fondest Christmas memories happened many years ago when I was co-hosting a radio show with Jim Kirkwood called The Good News Hour. We decided to do something extra special one year, so we worked up a volunteer army of helpers from our listeners to feed the largest homeless shelter in Salt Lake City. I called upon such merchants as Sears to donate stockings, gloves, hats, and the like so that we could give every indigent a gift. I spoke to local grocers, who donated turkeys, stuffing, pies, and other food for the dinner.
Our radio fans did the cooking, and as an extra, I asked my friend Duane Sutherland, who was chief of police for South Jordan, Utah, for his help. Duane spoke with his staff, and as a result, most of them volunteered to come serve the meals, refill the drinks, and pass out the gifts.
On the evening of our Christmas meal, the press showed up to film the event (“news at 10” stuff). There were some 100 hungry and cold homeless people and nearly the entire South Jordan police department in uniform (no guns). It was a special kind of bonding experience for everyone. The facility didn’t have enough tables to seat everyone, so many just sat on the floor. Officers passed among them, refreshing their drinks, delivering gifts, and serving second helpings.
At one point, about an hour in, one great big lumberjack sort of fellow stood up. He asked to speak, and of course I said yes. In a broken voice, he told of how he’d hated police because he seemed to always be at odds with them, yet here they were serving him as though he were important. The tears began to flow, and he sobbed out the rest of his statement. He could no longer hate cops, and he was so very sorry for ever doing so.
The silence from the crowd while this big man spoke was incredible, and then the chorus of Yeahs! that followed was almost in perfect harmony. More than one of us was moved enough that we had to turn our heads to dry our eyes before looking at each other. It was a precious time that I’ll never forget, and neither will the other individuals who were there.
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Service, Gratitude & Making a Difference
It shouldn’t take a holiday for us to remember to be grateful or a new year to inspire resolutions. I resolve right now — and I do this every morning — to turn up my efforts at helping others. I want many more of the warm, fuzzy moments that come when I know my life has made a difference to someone.
I invite you to take the challenge and turn up your efforts as well. I believe that the world improves one person at a time, but collectively we possess a power that’s much more than the sum of its parts.
I believe that paramount to character is an identity that incorporates our fellow human beings as an extension of ourselves. As the poet John Donne put it, “Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; for it tolls for thee.” Not only could the misfortunes of others today be your lot tomorrow but in an interconnected sense they’re losses to you now.
Helping Others Help Themselves
I believe in helping others help themselves, and I know that in doing so, we improve our own lives as well. One may wear a bell so the blind horse can find his way, but what would life be like if there were no companion to give such aid?
If you’ve ever felt lonely, separated from the rest, or cut off from the herd, so to speak, then volunteer at a homeless center, hospice, meal or mentoring program, or . . . I could go on and on, for there are many places that need you. In giving of yourself, you’ll find that you’re never again alone. As Martin Luther King, Jr., so aptly put it:
Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve . . . You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
©2012 by Eldon Taylor. All rights reserved.
Excerpted with permission of the publisher,
Hay House Inc. www.hayhouse.com
I Believe: When What You Believe Matters!
by Eldon Taylor.
I Believe is a book that will not only inspire you, but will highlight the kinds of beliefs you hold that may be causing you to fail. In the process, it will provide you with the opportunity to choose, once again, the beliefs that drive your life.
About the Author
Eldon Taylor is the host of the popular radio show, Provocative Enlightenment. He is an award-winning New York Times best-selling author of over 300 books, as well as numerous audio and video programs. He has been called a “master of the mind” and has appeared as an expert witness on both hypnosis and subliminal communication. More than 20 scientific studies have been conducted evaluating Eldon’s technology and approach, all demonstrating its power and efficacy. His books and audio/video materials have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have sold millions worldwide. Website: www.eldontaylor.com.