I was watching a program a couple of weeks ago and a minister said something particularly interesting:
We are all well aware of ourselves- our wants, our needs, our pains, etc...
But when is the last time you did something for someone out of the goodness of your heart?
In other words, we are aware of what goes on with us, and rightfully so. But can we remember the last time we did something for someone? The last time we helped someone in need? The last time we paid a compliment, and it wasn't flattery?
I believe what the minister was asking was...
When was the last time you sowed some "seed"?
When I have thought of sowing seed, I have most times thought of church, and the whole spiel a pastor gives at offering time. It is mostly attached to church. And you know how many think... They tryna take your money.
And I have heard that off and on over the years, especially with my particular pastor here in the ATL... how I give them all your money.
No I don't. That's silly. And trust, I have heard tooooo many sermons on why it's silly. Real silly when I have other obligations in life.
Here's my thing: I only spend maybe 1% of my time at church. And that's a long stretch. The other 99% of the time, I am doing other things.
Yes I tithe. I give offering. I could probably do better, but I haven't thought about that much. I have a goal for my church giving that I set some 10 years ago... Guess what? I've never met it. I can't say that I lose sleep over that. It's just a personal goal.
But over the years, I have found something else to be on my mind and closer to my heart: the people I come in contact with every day. I come across people who are in need. It may be of financial help. (That's always a welcome thing, lol). That need is a tangible. Not only are the tangibles important, but it is just as important to sow the intangibles... like time, a listening ear, a compliment, a conversation, a joke.
We live in a world where you really have to watch people. People will use and abuse you if you let them. Ulterior motives are the order of the day. (You know how I feel about motives. I've written a post or two on that). It's just a strange world, where we really have to have be alert and savvy about who we deal with. And that's sad.
And I don't want to be that way, someone who has ulterior motives when dealing with people. I've found over the years that that has been solved by "sowing seed". I can't have bad motives and sow seed in the same breath. It's impossible. And I learned that from a friend, my former workgroup secretary, some 14 years ago while living in New Orleans.
I won't rehash the whole story, but I posted about it here. I remember back in 1999, my great-grandmother passed, and I needed to fly home for the funeral. Not a problem. I bought my ticket, which was under 300 dollars, and I got myself together to leave on out. After I figured all that out, I talked to our secretary before I left and let her know my plans, since she took care of our timesheets, etc. She told me that her credit cards were paid off and if I needed to get some things, like my plane ticket, clothes, etc., to let her know and I could use them to get what I needed.
That BAFFLED me. I thought about it for awhile, even while away at the funeral, and after I came back. This chick is the most compassionate person I know. She is never in need of nothing. Whatever needs need to be met, they are always met. Things seem to always fall in place for her.
And we talked about that when I got back. It turns out that she sows a lot of "seed". Tangible and Intangible. And she was deeply developed in something I felt I was severely lacking in: compassion. And that made a huge impact on me. But still, I thought it was risky.
She said something that sticks to me 'til this day:
"Lee, it ain't hard... You always know what you're dealing with."
Meaning, we know the type of folks you're dealing with. We know it in your gut. We know who takes advantage and who doesn't. And Gigi said she doesn't worry about anyone taking advantage of her.
I thought that was a stretch. But some 15 years later, I thoroughly understands what she means.
And I understand other things also. The more I get my mind off of "Me, Myself, and I" and on others, the happier I am. My anger issues have been decreasing as I increase in my giving and sowing. I also understand the concept of that it's not all about I do for you, then I expect you to do for me in return, but it's about I do for you and God makes sure to send someone along to take care of me in my time of need. It never fails.
I've always been concerned by my anger issues, because anger is not really anger on its own.
Anger is an expression of fear.
I've also found that worry is an expression of fear...
And recently over the summer I also realize something I haven't thought much about
Discomfort is an expression of fear.
And around here lately, I've had to sow seed even though I am dealing with a little discomfort in the midst of it.
And I have been journalling about it because I'm wondering what that's about.
Too be continued...
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