Friday, July 31, 2009

Out of Service



Welcome to Service – The Action Form of Love

Though I’ve tried to write and post on a daily basis, I’m afraid that’s not possible. I’m running out of small and simple service ideas.

If you have an idea or two I could write about, or if you’d like to submit a guest post, please either leave your comments, or email me at jameswhofheins@yahoo.com

In the meantime, I’m going to a once-a-week post. If the idea is original, it will be an original post by me. If not, it will be a “classic” post (another name for reposting something from my archives).

So, whaddya say? Got an idea for me? Please comment or email me.

James

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

video

Share your Candle


Welcome to Service – The Action Form of Love

Have you ever been sitting at home in the evening, reading a book or otherwise relaxing, when the power suddenly went out?

This is a pretty common experience. I would expect that you and most of the people you know have had just such a thing happen. And, once it does, the first thing you want to do is find all the candles in your home and light them so you can see what you’re doing.

Think of just how dark the night is without electricity. There’s no light to come in the windows because the street lamps are typically off.

It’s dark and that can sometimes be disorienting, if not downright scary.

Now think about that first candle. When you light it, the room brightens up a little bit, but not much. A single candle can’t usually put off the same light your bedside lamp or kitchen fluorescent lights can put off.

But what happens when you add additional candles? Well, obviously, the intensity and amount of light increases. Depending on where you put the candles around the room, the light can seem to grow exponentially, too.

But what if you had a candle but no way to light it?

Regardless of how many candles you had, with no way to light them, you would stay in the dark until the electricity came back on or the sun rose the next morning.

So many people today are sitting in the dark. They have candles but don’t have the means to light them.

They may be in the dark in a spiritual sense. They may be in the dark economically, educationally, or in some other way. They are lacking something you have – something vital that would make a difference in their lives. The problem is, you may not know about them because – well – because they’re in the dark it’s hard to see them.

So, here’s today’s challenge:

Find someone who needs your light and help them light their candle.

Teach them how to light their own candle in the future, but for now, share your light with them.

Don’t let them sit in the dark where they may be scared, frustrated and lonely. Help them. Befriend them. Listen to them and love them.

Be their light.

Thank you for reading today’s challenge. Thank you also for being willing to share it with others. I appreciate you – and the light you are willing to share with others.

Thank you especially for always remembering that Service is The Action Form of Love.

James

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Uplift


Welcome to Service – The Action Form of Love

Lately it seems like the news we read and hear is pretty bad. I guess it’s always been that way, but the headlines are hitting home in ways many of us have never before experienced.

There are wars and rumors of wars. Economic hardships. We’re all trying to cut back while at the same time wondering how we are going to survive. Its driving us crazy. So many people find themselves slipping from discouragement into depression.

So, here’s your challenge today:

Find someone who needs uplifting. Talk to them. Help them talk about their fears. Help them get it out into the open. You don’t have to give concrete answers – you may not have answers yourself. But be there and be a shoulder to cry on – a friend to listen.

That’s all there is to it!

I know you can do it, and I appreciate you coming to read today’s post.

I also appreciate you passing it on to others. Together, we’re teaching the world that Service is The Action Form of Love.

James

Friday, July 17, 2009

Commitment and Integrity


Welcome to Service – The Action Form of Love

How many times do we make a commitment to a friend or family member, and then when asked about it, we say “I forgot”?

For me, I’m afraid it happens too often.

So, here’s your challenge for today:

If you’ve committed to help someone or do something for them, follow through. Keep the commitment you've made to them. It's all part of integrity.

Pretty simple, no?

You can do it!

Thank you for taking time to read today’s challenge. Thank you also for being willing to spread the word and help others learn that Service is The Action Form of Love.

James

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Listen and Learn


Welcome to Service – The Action Form of Love

As you may have read in my last post, my wife and I just returned from a week’s vacation. You may also know from previous posts that my mama passed away six months ago today.

Mama had been homebound for many years, and my father stayed by her side until the end of her mortal life. He sacrificed a lot in doing so. He passed up opportunities to go places, visit people and just get out of the house because he didn’t want to leave her alone.

Because of his sacrifice and dedication, my wife and I decided we’d invite dad to go with us on our trip to California. It took him awhile to make up his mind that it was okay to get away from his troubles and relax, but he finally did make up his mind.

I learned a lot about dad on this trip. When it was my turn to drive, he’d sit in the front passenger seat and tell me all sorts of stories. I learned much about dad as a child, as a young man and as a sailor in World War II. It was an experience I’ll always cherish.

I wonder how things would have turned out under different circumstances. I wonder what I would have missed if I had chosen to plug in my MP3 player or crank up the radio rather than just sit and listen to dad talk.

I would have missed many nuggets of fatherly wisdom, and plain old fun stories.

So, here’s your challenge today:

Someone needs to talk. Today, your challenge is to listen.

Whether they have anything profound or groundbreaking to say doesn’t matter.

Listen.

Just listen.

Let them know you’re listening. Encourage them to talk more. Ask questions. Prod them for details. Really try to understand and appreciate what they’re telling you.

That’s it. That’s the challenge for today.

Thank you for listening – or rather, reading. Thank you for being willing to pass on my challenges and for inviting others to come and read.

And thank you especially for remembering that Service is The Action Form of Love.

James

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dear Military - Thank You


Welcome to Service – The Action Form of Love

I’ve been absent for a few weeks, taking some time to be with family, taking a vacation and generally recharging my batteries.

This evening, my wife and I stayed home and watched one of a set of DVDs called “Vietnam Combat”. It’s a documentary with several segments about the men and women who, whether by choice or by draft, served our country in the Vietnam War.

The segment we watched tonight finished with some of the helicopter pilots telling what it was like to come home from war. Most of them talked about having similar experiences coming home. One veteran said that he was very proud of what he did in Vietnam but he couldn’t carry that pride home. All of the veterans interviewed echoed that same feeling.

As I watched, I realized that I could almost predict the words and phrases these men used when talking about coming home from the war. I could do this because I have an older brother who also served in Vietnam. He had the same experiences when he returned home, too. He was confronted with the same slurs, the same insults as these men were.

He was spat upon, called horrible names and subjected to indignities unfit for any veteran of any war, regardless of the justness of the cause. He could not wear his military uniform in public. He couldn’t talk about the war.

He couldn’t show his pride for having done what his country asked him to do.

Watching the end of the documentary brought back a lot of memories of long talks with my older brother. Those talks have been few and far between, and understandably so. How could I, who was just a toddler when he went off to war, possibly relate to what it must feel like to have to face death every single day? How could I possibly comprehend what it was like to know that in order to come home alive, you must be willing to kill someone else? How could I possibly understand war when all I’ve ever known in my life is peace?

To those things, I can’t relate.

But, there are things I do understand.

There are things I can relate to.

I can relate to love for my country.

I can understand heeding the call of my country when called upon to serve.

I can comprehend the idea that a soldier serving his country did not start the war he was sent to fight.

The Vietnam War is something now taught in American History class. There are, however, other wars that are current events.

We have men and women now serving our country in Iraq, Afghanistan. They are our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and children. We know them as neighbors, coworkers and acquaintances. We hear about their deaths now on the back pages of the newspapers because there have been so many killed. We rarely hear about those with traumatic physical, psychological or mental injuries. And, unless we’re related to one of them, the only time some of us stop to think about them is when we hear about yet another deployment from our community.

They’ve answered the call of duty, every one of them a volunteer. Unlike previous wars, not one of the men or women currently serving in a United States military uniform has been drafted. They serve and protect for many reasons, but they know they’re fighting in an unpopular war. They know many of the American people have lost faith in the reason we’re at war.

And yet they serve.

With honor.

With distinction.

With pride.

I’m sure by now you’re wondering if I’m ever going to get around to today’s service challenge.

Here it is:

Today, if you see someone in a military uniform, thank them for serving.

Regardless of your opinion of the wars we’re fighting, please remember, they didn’t start it. Remember that in addition to fighting in Iraq, in Afghanistan or wherever else they may be deployed, they serve to protect you and your freedom to disagree with governmental policy.

Remember that they fight so that you and I can sit in our local Starbucks, sipping our morning beverage and leisurely read blog posts by authors who think they have the world’s problems all figured out.

Remember that they are human – a fellow brother or sister who misses the comforts of home when they’re deployed. Remember they have feelings and family and…

Well, just remember that when it comes right down to it, the person you see in that uniform would lay down their life to protect you, your family and your freedom.

Don’t you think that merits a quick “thank you”?

I do.

Thank you for reading today’s blog post.

Thank you for being willing to share it with others.

And most especially, thank you for remembering that Service is The Action Form of Love.

James