Friday, November 4, 2011

Me, Myself and Why

As my first blog for my own website, I felt I should explain a little bit about how I got to this point. Since August of 2010, I have been blogging about volunteering and charity work for Working Mother Magazine’s website. I call it the Heart to Heart blog because I believe that helping others is a heart matter. When we help others, we connect hearts.

We may never see the fruit of our heart work, but it is there in the heart of the recipient.  That is why I chose to call this blog Helping Hearts. We are hearts that help other hearts when we reach out to others through volunteer or charity work.
I am a writer who has written for newspapers, websites and magazines since 2002, but I found that there was a particular type of article I was writing that I felt was more important than the others, that had more meaning.  I was writing features about teachers, volunteers and other inspiring people who gave of themselves without expecting a payback.

They reminded me of how I wanted to live my life.  I had always sought to be a helpful person and to give whenever I was asked so far as I could. As a Christian, I deeply felt that I should also reach out and help other people. I had done a lot of things—feed people at homeless shelters, do Sunday worship for inmates at a jail, sponsor a child in a third world country. 
When I was first teaching, my mentor teacher was always willing to help and I took on her philosophy that I should always offer to help.  It became kind of a mantra for me, but after having a baby and two major sicknesses, I had pulled back from helping others somewhat. 

You see, it’s easy to become cynical about helping others.  It’s easy to see the homeless man take your money and go to a bar and think, “I won’t do that again.” Maybe you shouldn’t.  Maybe you should offer food the next time. But that shouldn’t stop you from feeling compassion. I think our hearts get hardened sometimes by experiences in our lives and we may pull back from those less fortunate than ourselves. We may even think they did it to themselves somehow. 
But who wants to be helpless?  The cancer patient feels helpless; the homeless man feels helpless; the wounded soldier feels helpless; the foster child feels helpless.  We all have times when we feel helpless ourselves so we know how scary it can be.  We also know people who have gotten us through those times by being there for us. We need to be there for other people, too. 

That’s what this blog is about—helping other hearts.  When you see or hear about someone in need, it should pull on your heart. That’s the way God wants us to feel.  When we get too hard to feel for others, we’ve lost something very dear.  There are many easy and cost-free ways to help others and I share those on my website and will in this blog, but it’s also important to give something more significant sometimes, to give of yourself so you can reap the reward of knowing you truly made a life-changing difference.

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