I will not just live my life. I will not spend my life. I will invest my life. — Helen Keller
This week I challenged you to find a way to make someone happy each day as a way of thanks-living. Making someone else’s day brighter is a way of investing your life, of expanding your horizons, and in deepening roots. Focusing outward on the other has so many benefits. It’s a win-win situation both for you and for the people to whom you show kindness, love, and gratitude.
So how did you do? I attempted small things each day to see how simply being more attuned to others’ needs and feelings would help me respond to their needs without the attempt feeling contrived or forced. I wanted my thanks-living responses to feel “organic” rather than “orchestrated.” The result is positive, and as I look back on the week I can see how interwoven our lives really are. Turning the focus upside down from “me” to “we” is like wrinkle cream for the soul. Everything is just a little bit better and brighter.
Helen Keller, who had many strikes against her, turned those strikes into fuel to benefit the lives of many. Her teacher Anne Sullivan invested her life in Helen, and Helen in turn invested her life in making a real difference in the world. Everything we do has a ripple effect; for every action there is a reaction. There is much over which we have precious little control, but we do have control over how we fact the world and how we choose to interact with our brothers and sisters on life’s journey. Life is both an art and a science–imperfect yes, but filled with beauty and light. How will use the raw creative tools of your life? Will you squander them on yourself or invest your gifts and talents in others? I have done a little of both in 50 years; now I choose to invest what is left of my life in others and in trying to leave this planet a little better place when I leave.
For Further Reflection
If you took the challenge and tried to make one person a little happier each day, please share your results by commenting. If not, click here to read about one person’s experience passing out cookies in New York City. You can read more stories by going to helpothers.org. Better yet, write your own story with your own precious life.
Photo by katiesw1 used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!