December 1 – Finding 5 ways to lighten someone else’s burden

December 1. “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else.” (Charles Dickens)

Even without reading this quote, it would never occur to me think of anyone in this world as useless. All of us have a place, and a purpose in the world. I have struggled for 24 hours thinking what to write about this quote because that one word has me hung up.

Setting that aside, this quote reminds me that I can be of service to anyone I meet if I am willing to help them in some small way. That can be something as insignificant as letting someone in line in traffic, or holding the door for someone laden with packages. From those humble beginnings, the possibilities abound as to how we can all lighten one another’s burdens in the day.

One of the dichotomies of this season of Christmas is that so many people are frantically, and stressfully searching for gifts for one another, and missing out on the idea that we all have the opportunity to be a gift to one another constantly. It always amuses and saddens me to see people with their baskets and carts full of gifts for others, committing themselves to that part of the Christmas spirit, but then hustling and stressing through the lines at the stores. This, for me, becomes the paradox of the season; that while we are working to be more charitable to our friends and family, we miss the chance to do so for the dozens of strangers we meet along the way.

I don’t think it is an intentional thing. I don’t think people leave the house with the idea of getting things for their loved ones while figuratively running over people in the parking lot. I think the stress of the season just causes us to lose sight of the idea that we are all here to help one another.

Today my reflection is on how I can lighten the burden of those around me whom I don’t know well. I am going to see if I can find 5 opportunities today to do something that will help someone I barely know, or don’t know at all.

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