Show up, Thumbs up:
We are taught service is with our hands – when we are doing things. Whether that’s writing a check, giving clothing donations, time collecting non-perishable items for a nonprofit or gathering an event group the last Saturday of the month to package boxes of household products and taking time to deliver said packages to a car trunk or steps of a family home. It's common for us to arrive at a local school to clean debris and repaint classrooms. We are comfortable to do this and find no trouble showing up and doing our part. What can be uncomfortable is if service was more than that.
What if service was more than the 9-5 job module? Arrive, complete a task or two and you're finished for the day.
What if it is not just a once a year or holiday obligation?
What if it was showing up as yourself, with your talents impacting daily?
What are these daily acts in your routine?
What emotions do you feel when you do these acts?
Are they just events? Or are they extraordinary actions from an ordinary person?
When I stopped at a red light with a resting pout I focused forward, anticipating the green light. I heard a honk, and I thought, “am I in the in the way of traffic?” I looked to my left and then to my right, and I saw a man in his driver's seat smiling at me with two thumbs up. I instantly smiled and slowly put my thumbs up towards him. I never saw him in my life, but that day I needed the cheer, a thumbs up to say it's going to be okay.
The rest of that day, while the sun sat behind the clouds, I smiled. The stunning moment at that red light for the fellow driver to intentionally make my day meant way more than what he probably knew. See, I was driving home from the hospital visiting my brother who was recovering from hernia surgery. While my brother is healthy now and back home, anytime we are on the road we make it our business to throw a thumbs up on the road.
On this third Sunday of Lent, we are asked by Jesus to shake things up, to release the conditioned behaviors and societal pressures, to reclaim our human worth not just for productivity, but to be more. How can you show up with your talents and meet your community's needs? Whether this is your neighbor or family member that needs help, how do you show up for them? Is it through listening to old stories over Zoom; arriving at a doorstep with coffee for a morning hello; or, yes, giving a thumbs up to a fellow driver?
In this season of self-discovery and faith commitment, think of the way you can be more. Serve your greater community with your talents and abilities. The little things that make an impact might be in the smallest of gestures.
Reflection: Jaslyn S. Ivey, alumna of Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Image: designed by Bill Murphy