I hesitated to embark on my daily walk with the temperatures reaching a chilly 27 degrees. But something inside pushed me to bundle up and take the dog for her much needed walk. As I emerged from the warmth of my cozy home, ready to take on the first real cold day of the season, my eye caught something extraordinary. A friend in the neighborhood was raking up an enormous amount of leaves in front of an elderly lady’s home and loading the heavy bags into her SUV. She would later drive the huge bags to the town dump for disposal. I approached her to ask if I could help. She smiled and responded “With your back, no way. I am fine – my family is off doing things today so I have some free time to help get this area cleaned up before the snow. I’ve seen your husband and son do it in years past, and others too. We are all in this together.“
We are all in this together. These simple words stuck in my head all day. This was such a beautiful act of random kindness from a busy working mom and yet she didn’t look at it that way. Instead, she felt that it was her turn to pitch in and help someone in need right in our own neighborhood. We are all in this together.
“Dear Children, Let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.“
(1 John 3:18)
As I think back over the last few weeks, I realize that it has been a time of abundance. A few weeks ago, I asked folks on social media to support an effort to provide new feminine care products, bras and underwear to homeless and low income women. I was amazed at the response from family, friends and others whom I had not seen in quite some time. All were more than happy to contribute to Dignity Matters – an incredible non-profit that I am involved with daily. In fact, the outpouring of goods was so strong that were able to provide 250 homeless women in Boston with new bras (3) and underwear for a year. We are all in this together.
My mom taught me what is means to have a living faith. Her life was a testament to the scripture verse from Luke 3:11 “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” She often did this in very small ways like making sure everyone in the family had a good slice of meat at dinner before serving herself. She did it through her nursing profession by treating every patient with dignity and love. She also did it in her later years when cancer had invaded her beautiful body – as a volunteer at the homeless shelter in Hyannis, Cape Cod. Giving to others was woven into the fabric of her being and she taught me what it means to live an authentic and meaningful life. Mom’s inspiration for charity was her Catholic faith. It sustained her life and propelled her into the service of others on a daily basis. She had a devotion to Saint Padre Pio who once said “To fail in charity is like wounding God in the pupil of his eye. What is more delicate than the pupil of the eye? To fail in charity is like failing against nature.“
There is so much need in the world. We all know this to be true. If each person does one thoughtful thing for someone in need, this world would be a totally different place. Remember, we are all in this together. One of my favorite saints is Blessed Dorothy Day who famously championed the Catholic Worker movement back in the early 1900’s. Her words back then are also very appropriate for today. “The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?”