Pep Talk: “Open Our Souls”

December 10, 2017

Suzanne Wolf’s a friend, educator and author. The empathetic soul recently posted something inspiring on Facebook. It was a quote from peace activist Mahatma Gandhi: “The best way to find ourselves is to lose ourselves in service to others.” Amen brother.

Folks, this is no great revelation but it’s what our country needs in large doses these days. It’s also an A Stronger Cord foundational principle in encouraging the downtrodden while uniting communities with wellness. Could it be? For those on the comeback trail from life’s derailing moments that, the quest to “find” oneself must include losing ourselves in service to others? Four years into this community wellness program, one thing has become crystal clear: those receiving lots of services need an equal opportunity to perform good works. Constantly receiving dampens a person’s sense of value while consistently giving operates in reverse. It confirms the truth of, “It’s better to give than receive.”
“Uncle Jordan is a big strong guy isn’t he?” this ol’ jock joked with a darling four-year-old boy living in a public housing community in Denver’s northeast Park Hill neighborhood. The handsome young man was riding on the shoulders of a great dude who recently graduated from the Denver Rescue Mission’s “New Life Program” and is very active in ASC. Each Saturday, the non profit YEP (Youth Enrichment Program) serves kids living with little sense of normalcy.  A big problem is the lack of positive adult, especially male, role models. Guys like Jordan are positive influences and get a big boost emotionally because they’re serving others. We’re losing these kids to the gangs. We must give them another team to play on! Why not utilize men and women on the comeback trail from their own isolation, like guys in recovery programs? Marginalized and displaced kids and adults, joining others, and building a stronger cord to one another with relationship building and community service? It’s a blessing to observe and good for all.

Playing off that realization, why not connect displaced adults with our nation’s isolated seniors? It’s the driving force behind the Knuckleheads’ passionate support of Bessie’s Hope. For more than 20 years its been building bridges between generations while serving elderly residing in assisted-living facilities. 60% of our nation’s seniors living in such environments NEVER have visitors. Kids and adults from all walks of life spending time singing, dancing and visiting those in the twilight of their journey? Wow, it’s rewarding.
These are uncertain times for non profit and governmental agencies serving the less fortunate. Social programs are vulnerable amid the craziness. The numbers are growing and the dollars are shrinking. What to do? Why not heed the wise words of one of the world’s most respected figures?

Gandhi led India to independence from Great Britain. Before his 1948 death at the age of 78, the acclaimed “Father of a Nation” inspired freedom movements worldwide. The former lawyer encouraged anybody willing to listen to find themselves in service to others.

This week, let’s open our souls to those wise words.

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