Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Part IV: Charity of Heart

She reaches out her hands to the poor,
                And extends her arms to the needy.  Proverbs 31:20
                During the holiday season, many opportunities exist to help the poor.  Food drives abound for holiday meals for families struggling.  Giving trees can be found at local malls and churches.  Many stores have people ringing bells, so as we rush around in Christmas frenzy, we can drop money into the bucket.  All of these are wonderful to help our fellow citizens of the world. 
                Charity has been a topic I have discussed quite a few times before.  To be an Ideal Wife, we have to “reach out her [our] hands to the poor.”  None of this is a new concept.  As I looked at this section of Proverbs 31, I struggled with bringing in a new idea to the thoughts of charity.  Driving to my Bible study group, I realized a past event in my life was the key.
                All of my life, I have struggled with female relationships.  I am more comfortable with men: talking sports, outdoors, military, and vehicles.  Though I am far from an expert in these fields, I enjoy the topics.  To make matters tougher, I joined the military being with a majority of male colleagues.  Around a lot of women, I feel like an elephant around ants.  One wrong step and I have crushed people.  Yes, this is a bit dramatic, but how I feel.
                Many years ago, I specifically struggled with a couple female relationships.  They were women I wanted to have a close relationship with but I really felt they didn’t like me.  While they went shopping, I tried to tag along, but I was miserable.  I hate shopping most of the time.  So I started watching the game with the guys instead of walking from store to store bored to death.  My thoughts were very dark because though I tried to join their activities, they didn’t join me in mine.  I felt like a complete outcast.
                At this time, I was sponsoring one of my military guy friends in his process of becoming confirmed into the Catholic Church.  During the Reconciliation service, I went to Monsignor to confess my sins.  My negative thoughts towards these women weighed heavily on my heart.  He spoke to me about charity of heart towards both me and the other women.  You see, I kept thinking I was such a bad person that they didn’t want to do things with me.  Then I would get angry at them for what felt like being shunned.  After many prayers and more tears, by having charity in my heart, I no longer mind that we have little in common.  I no longer hold resentment in my heart.
                This charity can continue to other areas especially in our hectic lives.  To “extend her [our] arms to the needy” can go beyond the material items people require.  Our society is in great need of love, understanding, empathy, and support.  Consider the clerk at the local Wal-Mart who has to deal with nasty customers all day.  Instead of growling at her slow process or perceived grumpiness, smile at her and PRAY for her.  Expect nothing in return.  There is a lady I have to interact with from time to time.  In her field of work, she is too grumpy and really seems to be incompetent.  My charity has struggled with her.  To be charitable, I pray, smile, and greet her in cheerfulness.  I expect absolutely nothing in return.  I doubt her and I will ever be friends; yet, I pray I may make her day a bit brighter.
                Charity of heart needs to be prayed for and practiced.  I definitely don’t come by it naturally.  I trip up a LOT.  In fact, I don’t go to the deli at one of the stores in town because of one employee.  Hum, I haven’t prayed about it either.  I might need to work in this area.  And there are others….
                My challenge to all of us during the out of control holiday shuffle is to smile to those needy drained souls in the world.  Try to brighten their day with an ounce of joyfulness.  When someone is annoying, pray for them to have a better day.  Embrace your charitable heart.
Blessings to you all.

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