I spent the day cleaning our three bedroom apartment in spurts of about five minutes with fifteen minute rests due to back and arm pain. At this rate, the day I finish the last room, the first will be furry again!
At seventy-nine, I’m not exactly spry. And if you want me to remember something, you better write it down. Neither am I affluent enough to donate a significant amount to any charity. But I am not dead yet.
My women’s group at my small church are mostly between their late sixties to late seventies with a sprinkling in their eighties and one ninety-four year old. None of us are very financially affluent, but we have been disturbed by hearing of more and more single mothers and even grandmothers raising grandchildren who are living hand to mouth in roach motels in constant danger of ending up homeless. We couldn’t figure out what we could do, Several other churches are serving free meals either monthly or even weekly. We were pretty sure we couldn’t take that on by ourselves. So, I started gathering information both on people needing help and what various groups are doing already. It turns out that there are a lot of people wanting to help, but almost no communication between groups or publicity on what’s being done. But there are ways to connect with most local groups on line, so I’m finding groups with facilities but no volunteers, and other groups with funds and food but no system of transportation. I’m beginning to reach more and more organizations and I plan to share the information in an email newsletter to both those with ministries and also those who might be able to help them, plus give it to the newspaper and radio stations. I got side tracked by the holidays, but now the project is picking up speed.
Whether this helps will depend on others’ responses, but at least I found a way to try to help that was within my physical and mental limits.
Also I can still drive, even at night, so I have started going to the NAACP meetings and will also be going to my local political party meetings. And if there seems to be a way for my LOL (little old lady) friends to help at those, I will be able to give them rides to the meetings.
I am not sharing this to brag and I am well aware that with my husband’s and my health problems, what little I am doing might come to an abrupt halt.
What I am trying to do is encourage people like me with limited resources, but free time, to be creative in exploring ways to make a difference in these challenging times. Most men and women under sixty -five and many over that age are working full time. Churches and other Charitable and Political organizations are desperate for volunteers. Our local Help Center needs people to just sit and check expiration dates on canned goods and use a sharpie to mark through the bar codes. If we can’t use a computer, we can do telephoning. If our memories are scatty, we can write down instructions. Our society’s needs may be great, but many joining together to help in small ways can make a difference. We can find a way, no matter what our limits are. Joining with others strengthens our commitment. And joining with God in prayer at every step of the way empowers us.
- 1. Help the next years be as good as possible for my husband.
2. Be there for grands and great-grands when they need me.
3. Become more loving in both my mind and actions.
4. Reach the people that my insights can help whether by speaking, teaching, writing, or just conversing. 5. Help my nineteen year old granddaughter, who suffers with Autism, find both purpose and friendships in life. 6. Paint some more paintings that I like enough to hang. 7.Get a better computer that’s easy to learn. 8.Take a trip to Quebec. 9. Laugh more every year and literally die laughing. 10. Recognize God and grace in everything and give up whining. (Even on Mondays!)
People do make a difference and things do change. Racial integration is a prime example in my life time.
But the path to change is never fast or easy and often involves people losing their livelihoods or even their lives for the cause. And when the perceived goal is actually achieved, it’s never anywhere near perfect. It’s an imperfect world filled with imperfect people, including us. So there’s always a gap between the vision and the reality. This is hard for those of us, who are idealists and visionaries.
A change in law or even a change in government can seem to happen overnight, but the change in people happens in tiny increments and takes a long time to become perceivable.
I have realized that I, personally, expect too much. But, I have grown in my ability to persevere and to keep the faith that God is alive and well and involved in our becoming whom He created us to be, both as individuals and humanity.
I still feel frustrated when no one shares my vision. And it’s a hard reality, that being by nature an agent for change does not make anyone popular, no matter how kind or pure of heart they may be. The prophets were God’s agents of change and they usually got killed for their trouble.
Another pitfall, for those of us wanting to make a difference, is that it can become an idol. The heart of the challenge is finding the grace to persevere, when we not only can’t see results, but experience both rejection and feelings of failure.
Pace yourself, and as best you can, accept the reality of bureaucratic insanity as the thorn in your side. And most of all, find ways to renew your spirit or you will burn out.
When we get to whatever heaven is, we will probably be surprised that the things we did that actually touched lives and rippled out from them, aren’t even the things we remember doing. But that’s okay. We aren’t God. And He can actually use even our screw ups, if we keep giving ourselves to Him.
What is the scripture?…..All God asks of us is to…… love justice and walk humbly with our God.
The older I get, the more I realize that the most important virtue is humility and the most important strength is perseverance.