The Pick-Up

This past Sunday morning on our way to the airport, I was dropping off my husband, a pilot for work. We had just finished saying the Rosary and were rounding the large loop about a mile from the airport, when we noticed a car off to the side of the road. The hood was up indicating the usual sign of a car problem. What was notable however, was that several of the passengers, looking particularly anxious, flashed the thumbs-up sign signifying they needed a ride in.

Several cars ahead of us zoomed right by them. We didn’t discuss what to do among ourselves, but we knew. We pulled over and helped. Their gratitude was overwhelming, as the clock was ticking and danger of missing their flights, eminent.

They wanted to pay us for our effort, which we vehemently refused. I told the woman that this is exactly what we are supposed to do as humans for one another. To this she stated, “You have resorted my faith in humanity.”

I don’t write this to brag about a good deed, for it was no more than my duty to my fellow humans. Jesus spoke about this when we do no more than we are commanded. “We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.” (Lk 17:10) We are commanded to love one another, to love our neighbor as our self, and to go the extra mile. It cost us nothing to do this, yet, it made all the difference in the world to those whom we helped.

Why don’t we do good things every time the opportunity arises? Shouldn’t we look for ways to lighten humanity’s load? Why do we settle for excuses instead of just doing it? Imagine if everyone who read this decided to make this very thing a priority in their everyday. The effects, while small at first, would exponentially grow over time, and the world would change day by day.

Matthew Kelly in his new book, The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity, calls these kinds of occasions “Holy Moments.” He defines a Holy Moment “as a moment when you are being the person God created you to be, and you are doing what you believe God is calling you to do in that moment.” He goes on to write, “Every good act, every collaboration with God, every Holy Moment fueled by grace echoes throughout history.”

Public personalities and those nearer to us than we like to admit, are taking their own life at an unprecedented rate. I’m blown away every time I hear about it. Shootings, and other acts of violence are becoming commonplace. What is happening? I know there are many factors that come into play; mental, emotional, environmental, and physical, to name a few. The breakdown of the family has also contributed and the eradication of anything God, who is our hope, help, and means of making sense out of suffering.

What I am suggesting is something positive we can all do, it’s not revolutionary, but a needed reminder. By showing acts of kindness and attention to those around us, including and especially persons we don’t know, we are giving them a taste of what authentic love is like. Love is what grew the Early Church in leaps and bounds. Tertullian wrote in his Apology, “See how [these Christians] love one another…”

What the world has always needed is exactly what Dionne Warwick sang about decades ago: “What the world needs now is love sweet love, ?It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…”

Love is an action. “To consistently will and choose the good of another…to love what God loves…” (Aquinas) This of course, is not just our family members but everyone.

It’s not that simple Barb.

Yes, it is! God doesn’t ask the impossible of us. One little smile. Courteous driving. An encouraging stickie note on a co-worker’s door or in a family members lunch. An inspiring email or “I’m thinking about you” text to someone who is down. A meal for someone sick, a kind word for a stranger. A cheery “hello” to your seat mate on a plane. (Ye gads, no!) Yep, it’s that simple. The more you practice this, the better you feel inside. Don’t worry about rejection or the stern rebuke- those people need love the most sometimes.

So what is stopping you? God needs us to be His hands, feet, voice, and heart in this moment of history; it is part of why you are here. Each aching, lonely, worried, broken, ailing human is desperate for the healing and hope that is in our power to provide as Christians.

Let’s start today. Time is of the essence.

Barbara Lishko works full time as a Lay Catholic Marriage Minister. She and her husband Mark, an ordained Deacon, have been married for 35 years and are blessed with five young adult children, whose lives grow and expand through marriage and grandchildren.

Through the inspiration of her family, work in the Catholic Church and wacky life experiences her dream of writing was born. She is the recipient of the Diocese of Phoenix St Terese of Lisieux award. Barbara can be reached at blishko_58@yahoo.com