With recent tragic events worldwide, sometimes it's easy to feel helpless about the state of world. As a family, we have our troubles like everyone, but overall we feel incredibly lucky and we make a point of reminding ourselves of all we have to be grateful for. Still, it's impossible not to think of all the other people with larger, scarier struggles and bigger mountains to climb and I know that reading the news last week has brought me to tears several times.
One thing that makes me feel a little less small and helpless is to try to be more empathetic and helpful on a small scale but on a daily basis. I saw a great idea online a while ago that involved making little care packages to keep in the car to give to those less fortunate. At least a few times a week, I find myself stopped at a traffic light and see someone on the median with a sign asking for spare change. Instead of spare change, we put our heads together and thought of what might make someone's day a little easier if they were living in a shelter or on the street. Then we hit up the dollar store and Walmart to put together our packages. We wanted to keep them light and compact so they could easily be carried in a backpack.
Here's what we came up with and we put everything in large Ziploc bags, which could double as a waterproof container.:
- Warm Socks
- Hand Warmers
- Tide To Go Packs of single use laundry detergent (I've used these to wash clothes in hotel sinks while on vacation.)
- A Couple of Snacks (Cereal Bars, Chips, Apple Sauce, Oatmeal to Go, Trail Mix)
- Nail File
- Moist Towelettes
- Throat Losenges
- Travel Toothbrush and Toothpaste
I found that even the exercise of trying to think of what I could receive from a stranger that might make life a little easier if I were struggling, was a lesson in empathy.
Last week, a situation in my personal life didn't go my way. I think it's going to end up working out but I found myself really stressed out and really immersed in my own life's worries. I was feeling sorry for myself. Sometimes a change of perspective is really healthy and working on this small project has helped me to remember to count my blessings. Would you try this?