There is a radio program here that I enjoy listening to in the evenings called “Delilah.” It is a program geared towards love and relationships and plays “sappy love songs” (think BeeGees) until your heart’s content. During the program, Delilah will take callers. Being of the “my dirty laundry is my own” persuasion I am amazed at the callers’ candidness and of Delilah’s graciousness at pointing out, in some cases, the caller’s contribution to the failure of the marriage or relationship.
To wrap up, she will usually leave the listeners with some positive message and encouragement. On one particular evening, she challenged her listeners to perform a random act of kindness for someone the next day. She suggested pumping gas for an elderly person, helping a busy mom load groceries in her car, allowing someone to go in front of you in a long line at a fast food or grocery, and so on.
The challenge really made me think about my own contribution to the greater good. Delilah often speaks of God’s love (imagine that coming across liberal airwaves, but it does, just the same) and how we can be comforted by it and should share it with others. Jesus’ life and death is the epitome of showing love for others. Jesus did not have the Internet or a cell phone or a TV or a newspaper or any of the other thousands of distractions we have that draw us inward, but even if he did I still think he would have made others his focus.
Say he was in the middle of performing a miracle, like healing the lame or forgiving a woman of her sins and his cell phone rang, I doubt that he would have stopped suddenly and said, “I’m sorry, I have to take this.” If he was answering important questions from his disciples or from the many who followed him, I doubt he would have paused and said, “Let me Google that and get back with you.” No, he would have quickly consulted his heavenly Father, as always, and then spoke to the people from his heart.
I’m as guilty as the next person for not reaching out and showing love to others. As we become more and more crowded as a nation and as society’s demands to stay ahead increase in intensity, “circling the wagons” and keeping my personal contacts only at my fingertips has tremendous appeal. I would challenge us, though, to live the life Christ set before us, placing people and relationships first.
This would mean, turning off our cell phones while we’re on an outing or at a restaurant with family or friends. It would mean picking up the phone and calling a friend that needs to hear from you. It would mean handwriting a letter to show your interest and that you took time for the recipient. It would mean giving your undivided attention to the overworked retail person who’s trying to assist you. And it would mean walking out of your home and shaking the hands of mailmen and, yes, garbage men who service your street each day. These are just a few; there are thousands of other ways we could show love and appreciation for the human race.
We’re all in this together after all. The “bear in the boardroom,” the lady at the tollbooth and everyone in between want the same thing: something that will make their lives better, sharper, clearer. Google can’t provide this for us and neither can that last minute email or cellphone call. But an outward expression of kindness towards others may be part of the healing balm for which we search. Christ knew this, Delilah knows this, isn’t it time we learned?