by David DeFord
Not long ago I heard about a study performed on death-bed conversations.
The study noted that the two most frequently discussed subjects at the end of one’s life were:
1. Relationships; and
2. Contributions made in one’s life
While we remain in pursuit of many worthwhile personal endeavors,
we must always remember to acknowledge and nurture those around us.
Those who need nurturing may be our family or our co-workers; but
they may also be those in the community at-large.
I have found in my own life, and observed in the life of others
that we can attract abundance by serving others. The biblical adage,
“We reap what we sow” lives on.
We live fulfilled lives, not by seeking treasure or pleasure for
ourselves, but by turning our desires and efforts outward.
By so doing, we put ourselves in the position to deserve success.
Many of us live what I call a “TV existence.” Rather than giving
back to the community, and making life for others better, those
living the “TV existence” live their lives as passive spectators,
always seeking rest and comfort.
How can we fight our way out of such lives?
Start keeping a journal.
Leave a legacy to your children of an account of your life. If you record your activities, you will tend to lift yourself off of the
sofa and accomplish more meaningful works. No one wants to record in their daily journal, “Today I watched the following sit-coms….”
Find a need and seek to fill it
Look for opportunities to make a contribution to the good of others.
On a Monday not long ago, as I took my lunchtime walk around a nearby
lake, I noticed a great deal of trash left by the weekend recreationalists.
I fumed in my mind for ten minutes or so, and then decided I should
do something positive. The next day, Tuesday, as I walked, I brought
along a trash bag and a stick with a nail on the end for picking
up trash. I was able to get my exercise, and at the same time, pick
up a few pounds of trash. My walks on Wednesday and Thursday filled
me with warmth and gladness at seeing the results of my simple labor.
Continue giving money, but begin giving time.
Financial Contributions are praise-worthy, but the joy of writing
a check cannot be compared to that that comes from hugging a cancer
patient or feeding the homeless. When we give our time, the feeling
of generosity lasts much longer.
Involve your whole family and others
A good experience shared is a greater one. When united in a good
cause, our relationships become richer.
Many years ago I managed several programmers developing software
to be used by nursing home personnel. They had developed that “ivory
tower” attitude that the users were idiots, and they were the superiors.
There was also terrible job dissatisfaction and turnover in the
department. I had to find a way to help them feel a greater purpose
in their labors. I began taking them to some of the nursing homes,
and had them volunteer. Not once in their visits did they watch
their software being used. Instead, they helped with activities,
gave manicures, and served food.
Almost immediately, the tone of the department changed. They viewed
their work more as a purposeful calling than as a difficult labor.
They gained an admiration for the workers who used their products.
And they began working more as a team. The sense of meaning and
unified purpose changed everything.
The same effect can result when we involve our families in serving
Who needs your help?
Keep your eyes and ears open—opportunities to serve surround us.
We just need to become aware. Read your local newspaper and the
newsletters from your schools. It’s not hard to find people or agencies
that need helpers.
Nursing homes always need visitors and volunteers. The elderly who
live at home need yard work, snow removal and home repairs. Youth
need athletic coaches, scout leaders, and vocational trainers. Health
associations need people to help in the office, stuff envelopes,
and many other tasks.
Check your yellow pages for social agencies and service clubs.
Do something right away. I have heard people say that they will
first make their fortune, then perform some grand and exotic service
to mankind. But I have found that we can do more good by doing many
little things throughout our lives—day after day. Samuel Johnson
said, “He who waits to do a great deal of good at once, will never
Find a worthy cause, and thrust your heart into it. Your community
will benefit greatly—and so will you.
"One thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve."
"I expect to pass through life but onece. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again."
"One of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone is the gift of your attention."
"Whoever renders service to many puts himself in line for greatness - great wealth, great return, great satisfaction, great reputation, and great joy."
"I heard a man of prominence say the other day, 'I have amended the language of my prayers. Instead of saying, 'Bless the poor and the sick and the needy,' I now say, 'Father, show me how to help the poor and the sick and the needy, and give me resolution to do so.'"
Gordon B. Hinckley
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