Vail Daily column: Feeling good while giving back
Before we know it, the holiday season will be upon us, and our spirit of giving will increase. We will think about the gifts that we will purchase, wrap and give to our closest family members and friends, and we will think about giving through the many outreach programs like selecting a random person or family from a giving tree at church or at work.
It has been said that if we are feeling low or our morale is down, then the best way to pick up our own spirits is to look for ways to help someone else. I know this works because I have practiced it many times myself. Anyone who has been financially blessed can easily write a check and make a donation, and believe me, the charities all need cash. But it is when we donate our time; that is when we make a difference for others and within ourselves.
I would like to accomplish two things in this week’s column. First, I want to introduce you to Elizabeth Billups. Elizabeth has a wonderful gift and mission in her heart to help others. She is an author of the book “The Carry Crew Concept: How to Build Crews to Carry People in Hard Times.” The book is remarkable, but her intent is even more incredible. I would like to share a little bit more about her concept through an article she has recently written.
‘Help yourself by helping others’
It is titled “Help yourself by helping others” and is as follows:
“There’s nothing quite like visiting a friend who can’t breathe, eat, walk or talk on his own to help you value your own life. I have a friend who suffered from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. I met him and his wife while he was at the early stages of this debilitating disease. Fortunately, they trusted me enough to let me join them on their journey for the next five years until, sadly, he passed away. During this time, I managed an amazing group of about 25 to 40 people who supported this couple and their two young kids by delivering meals, purchasing groceries, mowing the yard, cleaning the house and much more. People looking at my involvement in this family’s struggle may get the mistaken idea that it was I who was only helping them, when in reality, every encounter with them reminded me how healthy and lucky I was.
So like I said, people may think it was I who was helping them. But my family knows the truth. Experiencing this trauma alongside our friends was extremely difficult. But it was also an experience that reminded us daily that struggles that may seem insurmountable when looked at on their own were actually, by comparison with my friend’s struggle with ALS, small road bumps on the journey of real life. And thank God for the journey. As you know, we truly could not appreciate the mountain-top views if we never traveled through the dark valleys.”
If you know a family that needs support, whether it is a debilitating disease or illness, or maybe just a hard luck story of lengthy unemployment, you should read Elizabeth’s book “The Carry Crew.”
The second example comes from the “We Don’t Waste” program. You can check them out online at http://www.wedont waste.org. Basically, the idea is to gather all the unused food and products from local cooperating providers, which is then distributed to local shelters and food banks for distribution. I have volunteered twice to collect the uneaten food from the sky boxes at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. A team of about 20 people assembled after the game and collected enough food for more than 5,000 servings. I was simply amazed at the aggregate collection of prime rib, roast beef, chicken, ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage and desserts that were left behind. A special thank you to Andrea and Bruce Kirchhoff and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church for all you do for this program.
Need a “pick-me-up”? Look for ways to help someone else, and I can assure you that your talents and gifts will shine through and be greatly appreciated. I am also pretty sure that what you get in return will pale in comparison to what you actually give. I would love to hear all about the charities and missions you support at gotonorton@ gmail.com, and when we lift others up, it truly will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.