Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fill to be Filled

Have you ever noticed how fulfilled you feel when giving your time to someone or something less fortunate? There was a time when I wondered what in the heck I was going to do for the rest of my life (like I'm sure most of us do) and generally it would end with something sports related or in a field that made a bunch of money. Problem was, I was looking at careers that would fill me and make me happy (so I thought). I wish I would have realized sooner that the only way to feel full in this life is to live a life that is filling to others.

My word of advice to anyone who feels empty or like "something is missing" is to volunteer and give of your time with no expectation of a return. The greatest times of my life are in service to others. Don't know where to start? Opportunities won't always fall right into your lap, but there are people all around you that need help. You just have to be willing to keep an open eye out for that person or situation and be ready to join and fulfill that need at a moments notice. If you're anything like me, your opportunity may come out of nowhere.

I used to have a hardened heart for the homeless. I would say "life is choices" when I saw someone begging on the street. It wasn't until God softened my heart and called me to serve at a homeless shelter that I started to see things a different way. Yeah, life is still made up of choices, and many times the homeless make terrible decisions that land them in their current situation, but, it's deeper than that. Their story isn't as black and white as I used to think it was. Sure, they made bad choices, but all that did was make them have something in common with me.

I've made terrible choices as well. The difference is that I've had people in my life that were willing to pick me up when I was down or be by my side to see me through a mistake that I had made. One thing I learned about many of the homeless - they had no one. They were one mistake away from being homeless. So there they were. No one to turn to. No one to pick them up. No place to go. And eventually, no one to be.

It was through that experience that I realized how important family was to the outcome of one's life. It was through that experience that I felt obligated to give my time to others who only get one shot at this life. I serve a God of second, third and eighty-second chances. The least I can do is give my fellow human a couple as well.