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Reflections August 2012

If Tomorrow Never Comes

By Barbara Newell

Then it all changed: 9/11/01. Starting that day, we were thrown by catastrophe into another world. That world quickly became one of caring, compassion and helping hands. We thought about US as in USA.

A helping hand can be a life source. We are occupied with our daily lives so much at times, we do not even think about anyone’s problems but our own.

There are times we may think of others, usually in time of disasters, critical medical needs, deaths and such. Yes, your care and generosity is needed then, but why wait?

Stop and think now….is there someone you have been thinking about calling or going to visit? I bet there is. Do not feel guilty, instead, do it now.

Read this poem by Charles Hanson Towne below. I learned it by heart when I was a child and have never forgotten it:

Around the corner I have a friend,
In this great city that has no end,
Yet the days go by and weeks rush on,
And before I know it, a year is gone.

And I never see my old friend’s face,
For life is a swift and terrible race,
He knows I like him just as well,
As in the days when I rang his bell and he rang mine
but we were younger then,
And now we are busy, tired men.
Tired of playing a foolish game,
Tired of trying to make a name.

"Tomorrow" I say! "I will call on Jim
Just to show that I'm thinking of him,"
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes,
And distance between us grows and grows.

Around the corner, yet miles away,
"Here's a telegram sir," "Jim died today."
And that's what we get and deserve in the end.
Around the corner, a vanished friend.

This poem brings tears to my eyes every time I read it, even after all these years. I do not want you to feel sad, but energized. There is no time like the present.

There are many ways to “pass it forward,” let a friend know you care, and to do something special for others.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Save a plate of the dinner you prepared. Just wrap it and deliver it to the person or place you desire.
  2. Any food you have, especially non-perishables, can fill a pressing need for someone or some organization.
  3. Stop by the store and pick up a pack of note cards. Use the entire pack by writing just one a day to someone you have been thinking of. Look at the lives you will touch.
  4. Visit a person who cannot get out on their own. Offer to take them to the store, doctor or just a nice drive (which can include a treat of ice cream)!
  5. Put a little extra in the pot at church or for your special organization.
  6. Offer to “care” for a person for a short time. Everyone needs a little time away from difficult situations.
  7. Do not throw things out just because you are tired of them. Go all out, clean out your garage and look through your home for items for a yard sale. Maybe encourage family, neighbors or friends to do the same. Plan on collecting the money at one time and having everyone “gift” the money along with you.
  8. Another suggestion if you do not want to do a yard sale would be to donate the items.
  9. Don’t ask, just do. If you see a need, such as a yard that may need mowing or garbage cans that need to be taken to the street and put back, do it. It is hard for some individuals to do these weekly chores.

At times, we need to extend a hand. “Home” is created by many means and kindness is the flower that will blossom and grow and make house a home.

We need to think outside our box. A decade ago, it seemed we were all taken up with our own problems, lives and situations. Most of us did not consider those we see each day, walk by or make contact with. And, what about that long overdue “how are you” to a friend?

Then it all changed; 9/11/01. Starting that day, we were thrown by catastrophe into another world. That world quickly became one of caring, compassion and helping hands. We thought about US as in USA. We changed, we learned, we cried, we helped, we continued on. At that time, we did not think of ourselves. We all became one as a nation, as a state and as a neighborhood. We talked to persons we did not know. We asked what we could do to help. We reached out without having to be asked.

This state of mind should really, be part of our daily lives. To make a comfortable place for yourself and your family, you must remember that you are not alone. Community spirit is a good thing. It affects ALL of us and makes going to sleep at night in your own home a little more peaceful and restful. Be active, do your part.

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