I say “chasing my tail”, but it’s not really true; to be honest, I have been a tad lazy the last couple of days, as I’ve not been feeling great. On Wednesday I had no voice, so it would have been a bit daft trying to teach; on Thursday I had some voice – enough for my phone lessons – but I felt fed up and grumpy. Today, as it’s half term, my usual students can’t have their lessons so I’ve been released from working! Which is lovely in some ways, but as I’m self-employed, if I don’t work I don’t get paid!
The 40 Acts Challenges are becoming more challenging, I think. I’m finding it harder to think how I can apply them to my life, and what I’m doing here. But I imagine that some acts resonate more with some people than with others, and it is just important to bear in mind the impetus behind all of this: generosity. If I’m generous in a way that doesn’t quite fit the theme of the day, well…no matter!
Act N° 14 was about acknowledging what people have done for us…
Your grandma, your English teacher, your next-door neighbour from all those years ago… All of us know someone who influenced or impacted on our lives for the better. Today is about acknowledging their generosity, and returning the favour.
GREEN: If you’ve only got a few minutes today, reconnect with your blast from the past somehow. You might find them on Facebook, or you might have their contact details in an old address book somewhere. However you choose to do it, simply spend five minutes saying hello and finding out how they are these days.
AMBER: Assuming you’ve made initial contact and you’ve got a little more time, perhaps you could find a way to say thank you. Feel free to write it down in a letter – it might be a nice memento for the other person to keep.
RED: If you could repay the favour today, how would you do it? Perhaps that person used their skills, networks or resources to help you to get ahead. How could you do the same for them today? Make a plan and put it into action today.
Strangely, this was a difficult one for me…I’m not denying that many people have had great influence on me, but when I consider most of them, they’re either dead, or I can’t remember their names! I finally felt that there was a couple who we knew when we lived in MK who had influenced me a great deal.
D was my minister for several years. It was she who encouraged me to go forward into Licensed Lay Ministry, and she was there with non-judgmental support and advice when our marriage was going through a decidedly sticky patch.
K, her husband, shared my great love of drama, and we performed “Educating Rita” together, as well as several other plays, including several versions of Mystery plays. He was a minister too, and it was K who helped break some of my restricted views of God’s grace and genherosity. He always challenged me, never letting me take a lazy option.
So I wrote them a letter yesterday, thanking them for their support, and love, and generosity. I posted it today.
Today’s Act, N°15, is entitled: “More”
It’s easy to do the bare minimum, isn’t it? Or even to simply get the job done. Our time is precious, after all, and our energy is limited. But there’s a universal secret to delighting others: unexpected and undeserved abundance. Going above and beyond. Putting in 110%. Walking the extra mile. Pick your metaphor and dive right in today.
GREEN: If you’re at home today, or can’t find a way to do this act for someone else, simply spend a bit more time than usual in prayer. It’ll only ever be time and effort spent well!
AMBER: Find small ways to delight someone today. If someone asks for a cup of tea, give them biscuits too. If you are in a restaurant, leave an extra-generous tip or a glowing review online. Forget the cost and find your joy in the smile on someone else’s face.
RED:Go bonkers. Think of the most outlandish, extravagant act of generosity you could feasibly do today wherever you are, and then go for it. You might bake cookies not only for your neighbour but for everyone on your street. You might drive half an hour in the opposite direction to where you need to go, just to give someone a lift home. You might offer to make the coffee for your team – not just once but for the whole day. Whatever you choose, do it cheerfully.
Well, when I made Mr FD a cup of tea, I gave him a biscuit too – but I wanted one, so it wasn’t really very generous of me! I emptied the dishwasher – not my job! – but I’m thinking that my Act will be that when I do my ironing, I will also do Mr FD’s (we do our own in this household, due to the fact that most of the time I can’t be arsed doing any ironing until I run out of clothes!) That really IS a sacrifice!!! I suppose I’d better stop blogging and get on with it!
Well…it’s a good excuse not to do it, isn’t it?!