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Making Room

10 Oct

I once read a story about a man whose wife gave him a new winter coat every Christmas.  It wasn’t that she couldn’t think of anything else to give him or that he wanted a new coat every year.  It was because he needed a new one every Christmas.  You see, he had decided when he was younger that because he had enough to care for himself and his family, he wanted to do something for someone less fortunate.  So, every Christmas he invited a local impoverished man to join his family for Christmas dinner.  Sometimes they were homeless, sometimes not, but they never had sufficient for their needs.  They lived in a northern location, and the winters were often very cold.  During the Christmas celebration the guest was included in every conversation and activity, and made to feel welcome.  Once the meal ended and before the guest would leave, the host would present him with his warm winter coat.  There were often tears of gratitude and amazement at the man’s generosity.  The coat was the most wonderful gift that could be given in a bitterly cold winter, and as the guest would leave hugs and words of encouragement would be exchanged.  Afterward, the man’s wife would present him with her Christmas present of a new winter coat for the coming year.

Extending ourselves and making room for others in our lives is perhaps the most precious gift we can give.  It requires us to look outside ourselves, and see those around us.  It doesn’t always have to be gift, it doesn’t have to be money, it may just be time.  Perhaps just saying hello, listening, and being a friend is all that’s needed.  Sometimes we might help out with something that is difficult.  Or we might offer to help with transportation for a meeting or appointment.  There are millions of people in the world, but there are times when we all feel isolated and alone.  If we can extend ourselves just a little to those around us, we may eliminate those feelings in a small way.  If we all worked together, the world would be a warmer and more welcoming place.

Making room in our lives isn’t hard, but it does take commitment.  Many of us have a little time we can spare, but even if time is limited, it doesn’t take much to say hello and ask how someone is doing.  Of course there are big, international projects we may get involved in if we like.  There is always a lot of need in the world.  But if those big projects aren’t possible, we can simply commit to being kind and welcoming to those around us. If we have possessions we no longer use, we could offer them to someone who needs them.  We might offer our homes to those who need a place to stay, food to those who are hungry, or a smile to those who are sad.  If we make it a priority to extend ourselves, we can be a light in the darkness, and we can lift those around us.

Today as you do all the things you need to do, take a moment to look at those around you.  Is there some way you might offer something positive?  Is there some small favor you could do?  If there is, extend yourself in friendship and kindness.  Nobody likes feeling alone and sad.  You have the power to lift someone around you and be a light.  Today, offer your hand and your help.

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