Wednesday, October 7, 2015

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” ― John Holmes

Jean-Paul Sartre, in his play “No Exit” makes the point that hell is other people.  Well, I’m here to tell that atheist existentialist that heaven is also other people.  When John Donne wrote “No man is an island” he knew what he was talking about.  Nothing makes my blood pressure go up like hearing someone say that someone is a “self-made man” as if he taught himself, wrote, printed, and published all the books he read, had no assistance from another single human being.  Even Robinson Crusoe had the man Friday to help him or he would have perished.  We are not here to be alone, we are here to be with others, to be nurtured, loved and taught by others and to return those gifts of love to all who need them.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have loving, nurturing parents, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need that which is denied them.  One of the finest men I know, a pastor in New Mexico, was left in a paper sack at the door of a hospital.  He bounced from foster home to foster home and then met a woman who changed his life and his world.  He worked for the CIA for a time because having no family was a plus for that kind of work, but he didn’t last because he needed people to love him.  I was both humbled and happy to play a small part in his becoming a servant of God, but he did all the work and is still serving God although I haven’t seen or heard from him in over twenty years.  I see on Facebook posts of pictures of children as they grow, graduate, and marry, and I may be the only one (other than themselves and their parents) who know that they were adopted as babies.  The smiles and love visible in all the pictures is there because they were loved, nurtured, and taken to church, not to mention the incredible lift they got from the great role models their parents turned out to be.  I’ve seen single mothers, widows, single fathers, widowers, all fill the roles their children needed and have seen the great results of sacrifice and work these parents have created.  To paraphrase an old Rolling Stones song, “We don’t always get what we want, but we always get what we need.”  I am very, very proud of all three of my sons, but I also know the work, love, and sacrifice that went into making them who they are today.  They didn’t do it on their own.  We need each other, and I can think of nothing sadder than seeing the thousands of refugees who have nothing left but each other and many times they have also lost all their families.  Wars, floods, earthquakes—just a few of the many reasons so many have to rely on the love and kindness of others just to exist.  I will never forget the films I saw of Jewish mothers throwing their babies from the trains into the arms of strangers as the mothers were taken off to concentration camps to die. They wanted their babies to at least have a chance.  Christ has commanded us to love each other as He loved us, and He loved us enough to suffer the cross.  I ask that we all pray for all those who need human, caring touch, and help to endure what I cannot even imagine.  We are to love, not to hate.  To care, not to turn our backs.  I believe that there will be a day of judgement.   We need to be aware that one of the questions may be, “How did you treat My babies?  How did you treat My children who were in need?”   You don’t have to save them all, no one can, but you can do something, and if you can do something, however small it may seem--do it.  Your small act of kindness just might change the world, and at the very least it will change your heart.  I am closing with a quote of Mr. Rogers, the Reverend Fred Rogers, an ordained Presbyterian minister who made such a difference in the lives of so many children.  He said, “If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of.  There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”  When you lift another person up, you rise as well.  My son, Chris, is an executive at Kickstarter.  This is what they are doing:  
It’s worth checking out this URL.  There are many ways to help others, this is just one.  Christ said, “Let the little children come unto me, for such are the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Surely, we can help just a little.
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