Serving people and volunteering reflect how culture has shown a
history of caring and pulling together in times of adversities
and strife. The valuable message and “roots” come from all faiths
and can be found in various examples.
Spurred on by my recent “Spire” newsletter from the First Presby.
Church, in Delaware, Ohio’s message:
“Mission work that is carried out by churches and other organizations
makes a difference in the lives of people all around the world. One
purpose of mission work is to help those who are hurting in whatever
way is appropriate to their specific situation.”
I could not help reflecting on the different levels of helping others
that I feel I have done and will try to add more to my own sense of
purpose in life. I wondered if I could investigate and find some
history in the United States, of being positive ‘lights’ and doing
Native Americans have always viewed the concept of helping each
other, as beneficial and calling it a “give away.” The process
is described as choosing a special gift to impart at a helpful
This is a long-respected tradition, honored among most tribes.
The Pacific Northwest and Canadian Indian tribes have something
called a ‘potlatch.’ I found that the Chinook tribe was one who
originated this process, but if someone is more knowledgeable on
this subject, please feel free to ‘pitch in’ and help me explain!
Native American traditions are enduring, meaningful and loving.
There are traditional ceremonies held by other tribes as “Give
Away Ceremonies.” What helped me to understand better why they
do this, is by realizing that Native Americans don’t place a
“value” on individual property or money. They feel that if there
is anything that another person should need or will benefit the
other family, then one should ‘give away’ that item. Not having
personal “ownership” of the land and its creatures is also
included in Native Americans’ belief systems.
Other people consider when they are giving time, money or energy
towards a cause as ways we are “paying forward.” Eastern cultures
include “karma” (or “kharma”) and “kismet” as reasons one may
wish to engage in positive actions. What ‘goes around, comes
around,” does not mean that there is not respect and value in
those caring actions!
Another way we may explain the process of helping one another
could be as “giving back to the world.” You may hear this come
out of famous people or philanthropic projects.
Powerful actions, to positively impact and support one another,
crosses across the world in so many other dimensions. Churches
send out their teams out for rescue and retreats, sometimes
labeling this, “Mission Work.” Serving others helps both the one
who is setting out on a mission, and the ones who are on the
My family’s three children engaged in community church functions
called, ecumenical peace camps and ecumenical youth groups.
It is appropriate to view this subject on a Sunday, but every
day is truly the way you carry out your faith or spiritual
expressions in respect to your God, Allah, Mother Nature, Higher
Being or your own personal inner beliefs. Agnostics and atheists
give with open hearts and hands, through their acts of kindness.
Witnesses to 9/11, Katrina, floods and famine relief, Red Cross
and other ways that people are constantly reaching out and going
beyond their everyday actions (and comfort zones) are so inspiring!
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,
“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that
no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
John Mc Mullin, who writes for a ‘healthy and better life’ local
magazine and other noteworthy journalism endeavors, tweeted:
“I can accept my wheels coming off the tracks as long as I trust
parts of my self know how to put my wheels back on the track.”
Another tweet by John:
“When the anguish and pain of what we think we know becomes
overwhelming, only then are we willing to explore what we don’t
I enjoy so many blogs with their famous quotations and photos,
I also revel in poetry. This local woman, Jennifer R. Harbor
shared this poem, (purposely written in lower case letters…):
not this Body
not these thoughts that consume me,
not these feelings that find me,
not these beliefs that drive me,
not this used flesh scarred by existence,
infinite spirit, limitless energy, borderless space,
i am the light of ancient stars
i am eternity expanding,
not this Body
radiant Light, living only to
Transcend this vessel
of eyelashes, fingers, lips, toes…”