Today I want to suggest an exciting idea – I want you to try giving yourself away.
I once knew a man who suffered a nervous breakdown, during which he sat for months in gloom and mental darkness. One day, I suggested he try to turn off his dark, depressing thoughts by practicing thanksgiving. I said, “Start thinking of people who greatly helped you in your life.”
So, he wrote an elderly school teacher, a Miss Elaine Smith, who had been a positive influence on his life. A reply came, written in the shaky handwriting of an aged lady. “Dear Willy,” she wrote, “When I read your letter I was blinded by tears, for I remember you as a boy, and as I think of you now I see you as a little fellow in my class. You have warmed my old heart. I taught school for fifty years. Yours is the first letter of thanks I ever received from a student, and I shall cherish it until I die.”
Friend of Dial Hope, writing a letter of thanks – a project like that – may involve taking a little time – but it’s an opportunity to give a little of yourself, and really that’s the best you can give. Strangely, when you give yourself, you find yourself.
Let us pray: God of hope, we come to you when our hope is vanquished, and our faith is small. We come to you when the promise of the “good life” has been found lacking, when clothes and cuisine, cars and cappuccinos become insufficient nourishment for the hunger of the human spirit. We come to you because we have nowhere else to go. O God, save us from ourselves; from self-indulgence, and self-idolization. Heal us from the sickness of the body but even more from the sickness of the soul. May we get caught up in the current of your compassion, the flood of your forgiveness and so lose ourselves in the wide ocean of your love. In the name of the risen Christ. Amen.
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