Yesterday I said “Hopefully bright and breezy tomorrow”.
Well, tomorrow is now today: and I feel relatively bright and breezy. Certainly more so than yesterday!
Nobody replied to my “anything I can do for you…?” post on FB but I suppose that’s okay. It will be out there now, and there’s always the chance that someone will contact me at a later date, having seen the post.
However, Helen – someone I met through her wise and thoughtful blogposts through 40 Acts last year – left a comment on the blog yesterday: Here is something I need – a bit of encouragement to keep going with the 40Acts and not let it become too distracting from my everyday responsibilities. Can we help each other somehow? (after all, that is the Amber action – is there anything YOU need – that can be done from afar?)
I’m not sure I have anything useful to say, I’m afraid…But I shall endeavour a stream of conciousness, which may, or may not, be helpful:
As I have always tried to think, 40 Acts is not about a “Tick – VG” mentality. It isn’t a list of challenges to do & then forget about; it’s not about “Phew! I’ve done it today” or even “I did it yesterday – does it count for today’s act?” in the sense of Well, I only need to be generous once a day!
I haven’t “failed” if I didn’t quite find a generous act that exactly fits the prompt. But this, perhaps, is where it could become distracting – one can spend so long thinking “what can I do for this? How can I shoe-horn this challenge into my everyday life?” that it balloons beyond all reason.
Helen said: You did better than me – at least you read the instructions properly. I read the blog, got in my head that we were on to a kind act and went off on my own track.
My general feeling is “So what? You did something generous. Does it really matter if it fitted with the prompt?” As 40 Acts said when they reached their 100,000th subscriber
not: “…that’s 4 million acts of generosity directly linked to our daily prompts”!
These are only prompts. If the title “999” makes you go off on a different tack, then that’s fine. If I hadn’t read the rest of the post and instead gone with my first thought, and taken a box of biscuits to the local fire station, would that have made the generosity invalid? (In fact, if I’m honest, it would probably have been more useful and more generous and more challenging than sitting on my backside typing “Can I help anyone?” on FaceBook!)
So, dear Helen, my view is that if 40 Acts is becoming too much weight, because you are finding it a distraction from your everyday responsibilities, then do nothing more than “Think generous”. Just be open, and not closed. Where you see an opportunity, or feel a nudge, don’t turn your back, but do whatever you feel prompted to do, be it give a meal to a homeless person, a hug to your mother (by the way, I found that blog post of yours incredibly moving), or taking a breath, sitting and listening, while not glazing over when your husband is talking about computers (I may be talking to myself here!!)
And if one day whatever you do fits neatly with the prompt, then fantastic. But if it doesn’t, do you think the homeless person will turn away the £1 coin, just because you are supposed to be giving out chocolate today?
Be open. God will use you.