We’ve been trying to teach our daughters that they’re very blessed to have so much food to eat and so many clothes to wear. I want them to be appreciative of what they have and to be willing to give of their excess to those in need. The best way to get that across to them, I think, is by example. So, for act 348, we ate rice and beans for dinner and took the money that we would’ve spent on the rest of our dinner ($5, we estimated) and we gave it to someone who needed it.
For my 333rd act of love, I read this article from Focus on the Family about serving others as a couple. We’ve done a bit of serving together and it’s always made us closer and more unified. But, as the article points out, serving others isn’t about the benefit that we accrue, but the benefit of others.
As the holiday season approaches, I’m becoming more and more mindful of those who are in need. I think we should begin planning how to incorporate acts of giving to the needy into our holiday tradition. I’m sure that’ll make our holidays more meaningful (for us and others) and it’ll be a great example to our kids.
Lately, it seems that I’ve been demanding and overly harsh with you. And from this you’ve taken it that I think you’re not doing much well. To counteract this, I decided to figure out something that you excel in, and then praise you for it. Your love for others immediately came to my mind. In this, you definitely excel—our girls are growing up in a home filled with love thanks to you and our neighbors and friends have experienced your love as well.
When I told you I was thinking about things you excel in, the first question you asked was, “How many did you think of?” I wasn’t sure what to say, because once your love for others came to mind, I stopped trying to come up with stuff. I should’ve explained that I only tried to come up with one thing and that you excel in a lot of things. Instead, I answered in one of the worst ways: “At least one.” It struck me at first as a clever answer that might get me out of a fix, since saying that I thought of at least one thing is consistent with thinking of 100 things. But as the words came out of my mouth, I knew I was in trouble. You interpreted my answer as you should have: as “Only one,” and took it to imply that “You only excel at one thing.” Sadly, this implication had the opposite effect than what I intended for the act of love; that is, it served to confirm your suspicion that I think you don’t do much well. Sheesh. You were gracious, though, and simply rolled your eyes and gave me a hug.
When I actually told you what I came up with, you appreciated my answer.
After getting back from the church retreat last Sunday, our pastor gave us some of the retreat’s leftover food. Since it was a decent amount, we decided to share our wealth. For this Sunday’s act of love, then, I delivered some of the food to a family in our church.
One of our friends feeds the homeless every Wednesday at a park in Santa Barbara. We joined him this week, putting feet to my vision that we’d work together to help others.
We brought cookies, but there was also pizza, mandarins, carrots, and water. Maybe 30 people lined up to receive food and we enjoyed serving them.
Our five-year-old daughter was excited about feeding the homeless until we got there. Then she was nervous. Still, we told her to hand out cookies. Once things got going and everyone politely thanked her for the cookies, she began enjoying herself. At one point, she even leaned over to me and whispered, “Things are really turning out well!”
The evening did turn out well: we met some kind people that we were able to help. I hope we do it again.
Part of my vision for our marriage is that we’d not stop at loving each other, but would love others too. I want us to be so unified in our relationship that we spend much of our energy working together to help others rather than butting heads. That’s one of the reasons I’ve spent a lot of time fostering my love for you and our love for each other through 365.
Well, last night we took a first step in loving others. After dinner, we made an extra plate of food, then piled the fam into the car so we give the food to someone homeless. We already had a lady in mind, the one who begs in front of Trader Joe’s with her dog. We found her and gave her the food. She seemed excited and appreciative. And our girls enjoyed petting her dog.