Examples all around us

When our buddy Thor pops up on Thursdays, it’s our cue that it’s “Give Back Thursday.” This is the day after the day that we give thanks – remember? On the first day, we consider and give thanks for our blessings, and then on the next day, we work to give back to those needing blessings.

What will you do to give back? I propose that some people are reluctant to get involved and give back for multiple reasons – inertia, lack of motivation, time pressures, etc. – but I think often at the heart of it is a fear that what we do won’t really matter, or that the problem is insurmountable and can’t be tackled.

Let me tell you a story. For those that know me, you’ve heard this story a million times, so forgive me. Several years ago, when P.F. Chang’s first opened in Memphis, I went with my sister-in-law, and four children at that time. Our husbands were golfing – for four days – and we were trying to figure out how to entertain four kids for four long days. So, off to the NEW Chinese bistro we went. Back then, and perhaps they still do it – I haven’t been in a while – they made a big production of every element of the meal – they brought the sauces and made a big production of mixing them for you on the little tray on which they were served, and so on.

Anyway, this “production” went on throughout the entire meal. Finally, at the end, they brought us a tray of fortune cookies. The kids nearly clawed each other to death to get their hands on one for themselves, and there were two left on the server’s tray – one for my sister-in-law and one for me. She took one, and I took the remaining one. So, the kids all opened theirs, read them and exchanged comments about their “fortunes”. My sister-in-law opened hers and it was amazing – now, I’m paraphrasing both because I don’t really exactly remember, but also because the story is better if I tell it this way (Ha!) – anyway, hers was something like, “You light up a room when you enter it. All who know you are blessed for the experience. You will bring joy to others.”

“Wow,” I thought, “mine’s gonna be really good, too!”

So, at last, with much anticipation, I opened my fortune cookie. And it read…..are you ready for it?

“Do What You Can.”

Seriously!?! This is the best you can do? I couldn’t believe this was my “fortune” – I felt totally gypped!

But, after thinking about it, I began to really like the saying. First, if you use the old fortune cookie game of adding the words “in bed” to the fortune, it still works – “Do what you can in bed.” Also, it’s sort of like a response to all things.

Flat tire? Do what you can.

Need to advance a proposal at work? Do what you can.

Can’t get your closets organized? Do what you can.

It’s sort of like the old adage that went around in the ’80’s, “S**t happens.” It works for everything.

Anyway, I propose that it works for giving back. You might not be able to totally fix the problem, but you can work to make it a little better. For example, I draw upon the best example of this point of view – that of Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu of the Republic of Macedonia. What’s that? Not sure you’ve heard of her? She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She talked a lot about loving your family.  She is beloved all over the world for her work with the least, the lost and the littlest.

Yes, it’s Mother Teresa. Read a few of her quotes:

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”

Sort sounds like “Do what you can” don’t you think?

So, what will you do today to make even a small difference? You’ve heard the saying “to the world you may only be one person, but to one person, you are the world”? I LOVE that quote – it conveys this point.

Maybe you can’t do it all, but…..

Are you ready to “Do What You Can”?

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