While I was making an outstanding Peanut Butter Sheet Cake (I’ll have the recipe up on my food blog today – trust me, you’ll want this one in the worst way) yesterday, my mind went on one of its famous wandering expeditions. I found myself deliberating in a lot of different neighborhoods:
- A movie my husband and I saw Friday – SALT. It stars my favorite actress, Angelina Jolie, so naturally we saw it on opening night. Awesome movie! I debated whether or not I liked it as well as or better than Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Wanted. I decided that SALT was one of her 2 best movies to date. With that dilemma solved, the brain headed off in a different direction.
- Why can’t rice cakes have a gazillion calories and cake, cookies, pies, fudge, etc have virtually nil. Why can’t it be a world where Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels say, “Calories in… Calories out… Eat all the peanut butter fudge and cheesecake you want, but if you even touch a rice cake – I’ll know and I’ll know. I’ll yell. You’ll cry.”
- Why do pets ever have to die? One of my outside cats died a few days ago. Fortunately my youngest daughter’s boyfriend buried him for me. Pets dying just seems so unnecessary and cruel. Why can’t our pets just live and live and live… This little guy (“Scratch”) was one of the sweetest-natured cats we’ve ever had. I’d just look at him and he’d start purring. When I petted him or talked baby talk to him (yes, I’m one of those cat lovers), forget about it – his body would nearly explode with purring. Love him muchly. Miss him terribly.
- Why are the St. Louis Cardinals shopping around for more pitchers when pitching isn’t our weakness this year. Wev’e got 3 of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball, a guy in the bullpen (Motte) that’s scary good, and a few other relievers who’d be equally scary good if they got more work – but with starting pitchers like Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, and Jamie Garcia – sometimes they’re like Maytag repairmen out there.
My final thoughts were centered around people who seemingly love to help others. Not just the ones who come through for others, but the ones who come through and don’t resent it. A lot about Rusty ( he’s daughter #3’s boyfriend) reminds me of my husband. They’re hard workers with great senses of humor. They had to overcome difficult childhoods and don’t seem to harbor the slightest bit of bitterness.
Rusty also has a trait that reminds me of my mom (and a trait I certainly hope I possess). He is always incredibly willing to do whatever he can to help other people. Not just willing – downright happy about it! My mom was the same way. She’d do everything in her means – and often beyond her means – to help someone… anyone… who needed it. Smiled the whole time doing it. The only thing she seemed sorry about or seemed to regret was that she couldn’t do more. She never complained. In addition to working full-time in the school system, she worked with and volunteered for the local Red Cross, the Lion’s Club, and the Salvation Army. I remember countless times she’d come home and tell me about the children she’d helped during the day. She didn’t name names, of course, but I heard all about the underprivileged little girls and boys who she’d taken to doctors, optometrists, dentists, etc. She’d tell how excited they were when she took them to McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, or Wendy’s.
Sometimes these precious little babies – born without a plastic spoon let alone a silver spoon – would mention to her that they didn’t have this or they wish they had that. If these things were within her reach, they soon had just what they needed – whether it was a pair of gloves, a notebook, a backpack, rain boots, pajamas, etc.
She didn’t go to any agency for the funds. She went to her own purse. Being able to help others who needed it made her smile more than just about anything. She only frowned and only complained when she couldn’t do more.
She was even more generous to her family. All of us knew that if we needed anything in the world, she’d be there for us, smiling the whole time. She was a giver and relished the role.
As I glazed the peanut butter cake, my thoughts finally wrapped themselves up with this: Our homes, our families, our communities, and our world would all be a lot better off if there were more joyful givers amongst us. If more people smiled when they helped others – rather than looking around for pats on the back, accolades, or praise. If, rather than feeling sorry for themselves, more people saved their compassion for others.
My daughter had gotten Rusty out of bed to bury Scratch for me. He’d just been in bed for a few hours (after working a night shift). He walked around my yard with me, looking for just the right spot. He even found a perfect little box and carefully dug a large whole in the merciless heat.
When he was through I began telling him how grateful I was but he stopped me. He just said, You know I was happy to do it.
And I did know. I also know something else, I’d never have heard the end of it if I’d attempted to do it myself!
I guess the ambitions of this post are simple: To make people more aware of what’s going on in the lives of the people around them. Stop worrying so much about how many hours a week you work, how little sleep you got last night, or how “burdened” you believe yourself to be.
Take a good look around. Look at other people’s needs. Ask yourself what you can do to touch the lives of other people. Of course, if you’re one of those people who resent doing anything for anyone else, you’d be better off watching the grass grow.
The world doesn’t need any more selfish people – it has plenty. The world needs more selfless people – it hasn’t nearly enough.
Ever Wonder what your brain craves on the weekend? Find out in the newest article on Out of Bounds.