“Love your neighbor…”
This commandment seems simple. We teach it to our children, we are encouraged to reach out in a giving spirit to help those who are less fortunate than we are. This time of year especially, we are encouraged to give of ourselves in many ways. I recently, with the help of my two granddaughters, created 8 centerpiece baskets for a fundraiser. These baskets were part of a Baskets of Love outreach program that the parish nurses do when we visit people. We all do this to some extent in our lives. Many weeks the altar flowers are shared with a shut-in, prayer shawls and lap blankets are given to those we visit as an act of caring. A hand held cross is shared with a person who is nearing end of life, a basket of cookies and a book is received joyfully by someone who has not had a visitor in a while… I think you get the picture. A recent visit to a home to check on an absentee gave me opportunity to take a few bulletins and tell stories of the events that were featured in the pages each week. I even had pictures on my phone of some of the events, thanks to our Facebook page and faithful photographers in our church; and the smiles and conversations we had were priceless.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner. It’s at this time of year that the giving spirit touches all of us, and we see and respond in love and caring in ways that are different from the rest of the year. Our reward is a “thank you” or “I so appreciated your visit and caring heart.”
Fancy baskets of “things” are not always needed to show a caring spirit. Write a poem; have children create a drawing; make a Christmas or Thanksgiving wall hanging with scripture that is about giving thanks; or take a card that is signed by several people. You can think of many more things, I’m sure.
I recently received my November issue of Whole Person Gazette and want to share a paragraph excerpted:
“To be truly healthy we must reach out beyond ourselves. When we share each other’s burdens and joys we become channels of healing. No matter how timid or tired or selfish or crazy or young or old we are, we all have something important to offer each other. Train yourself to notice others’ needs and then be ready to share your gifts when they are appropriate.”
Give thanks with a grateful heart as you journey through this holiday season that is upon us.
I thank each and every one of you for the prayers and caring support for our family as we walk the cancer treatment journey with my son. Many of you have, as have I, “been there, done that” and the prayers and caring are a strong part of the sharing and healing.
Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace Lutheran Church and School firstname.lastname@example.org