As the clock approached midnight Saturday, I was home watching Mariah Carey’s production snafu on television. Now don’t judge me! Some of you who know me well will recall that I've joined in on some exciting New Year's Eve celebrations in past years.
I spent a little bit of my quiet evening coming up with my usual list of resolutions and then trying to convince myself that I was actually going to lose that 25 pounds, read more books (loving Audible), watch less television, and get more organized at work. But as the evening wore on, I found thoughts shifting to something more important. I began thinking about some of the folks served by our amazing nonprofit clients, and wondering what they were thinking about as the clock struck midnight.
I’m certain they were not making resolutions as insignificant as mine. In fact, I doubt they were spending any time at all making resolutions. I think instead that they were spending that time hoping and praying for an end to some painful experience in their life, or hoping for a change that would bring them or their loved ones a greater sense of peace.
As we move further and further away from the traditional season of giving, it’s important that we don’t forget that the challenges for too many friends, neighbors, and strangers do not end when the ball drops, just because of the generous help they received from our year-end, holiday-inspired, tax-deductible gifts. Therefore, our thought about giving cannot end when the ball drops. So as you start to refine your 2017 resolutions, I encourage you to join me in looking beyond just personal and professional health, happiness and fulfillment, and remember:
- The homeless will need warm shelters and warm clothes in January.
- The hungry will still need hot meals in February.
- The community garden serving the neighborhood will need to be planted in March.
- Students in the after-school program will need their activity bus repaired in April.
- Trails through the local nature preserve will need to be cleared for hikers and campers in May.
- The drama, dance, and music teachers will welcome a new group of inner-city kids to their summer camp in June.
- The six-year old with the brain tumor will need surgery and another round of chemo treatments – and the family a place to stay near the hospital for the whole month of July
- The animal shelter will need more donated food for its rescued dogs and cats in August.
- The battered spouse and child will need a safe shelter for a few weeks, and support in escaping their abuser, in September.
- The out of work father will still need to stop by the local food pantry to pick up groceries for his family in October.
- The twins in foster care will be ready to celebrate their adoption with their new, forever family in November.
- A recently disabled veteran will need accessibility renovations to her home in December.
My father-in-law shares a blessing at every meal that goes something like this. Lord please bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies and us to thy service. Please make us mindful of the needs of others - those known and unknown. Amen.
Join with me in making a resolution to be more mindful of the needs of others in our own families, our neighborhoods, our communities and the world throughout 2017 and beyond. And let’s all stick to it!