Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What Really Matters?

Yesterday morning I found myself standing at my open front door staring out at a beautiful oak tree. Bathed in sunlight, I held a cup of lemon ginger tea in one hand and my to-do list in the other.

I was waiting for a friend that I was helping out of a financial jam, and wondering how crucial this hot list of tasks I was holding--that had seemed so important earlier in the day--really were. (This week is a big one for me as I’m attempting to wrap up all my projects so I can begin finalizing my manuscript which is due in January.)

The moment felt big and pregnant (ever have those?) and I had the strong sensation that I was being asked to stop everything … and become present to what life was trying to tell me.

Over the last few days, I’ve been surrounded by close friends and dear acquaintances who are struggling with big stuff. Life or death stuff. Fork in the road stuff. Questions that don’t have easy or quick answers stuff.

One of my son’s teachers lost her 19 year-old son in a fatal car accident right before Thanksgiving (this touched me deeply as my brother was the same age when he died). A close colleague is struggling financially to pay even her basic bills. Another friend has been battling depression and is in limbo around her life purpose and direction. One of my childhood friends is navigating the holidays with her kids after the loss of her husband 5 months ago. Another dear friend, a mother to two young kids, is working herself to the bone and having a hard time seeing a way out of a never ending cycle of overwork.

As I'm standing here in the doorway, I'm racked with the questions, "What can I do? How can I best help?" And as I write personal notes to them, leave messages and emails, offer prayers and resources--I'm reminded that this work, however small and insignificant it may feel--is more important than any task, deadline or to-do. Being here for each other is the most important thing there is.

So my prayer as I move through the week is “Guide me how to best serve and help my brothers and sisters who are in my life right now." Because we don't have to go to Africa or a low-income area or a disadvantaged school to find people in need.

Help is needed right here, right now and often those whose paths we cross daily are hurting and in dire need of a kind word or deed. But unless we drop the "Gotta get it done" mentality long enough to be fully present and *really* see those around us, we'll miss the call for help altogether. Like I almost did this past week.

Have you heard about the I CHOOSE LOVE public service campaign? It's a reminder that when we come from love--one of the most powerful yet underutilized forces on the planet--we have the ability to transcend fear and remember what we're really hear to do: give and receive love. Learn more and order a tshirt (at cost).

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Photo: Texas oak tree bathed in sunlight, Dreamstime.

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