Saturday, January 26, 2008

Strengthen Your Relationship by Giving To Others

We have just returned from a trip to Mississippi to help families affected by Hurricane Katrina. This is our 7th trip there and we continue to be strongly impacted by the pain those families still feel. Even though it has been nearly 2 ½ years since the hurricane, the stories that we hear from the people that we meet are told as if the hurricane just happened. We watch as their eyes look toward the sky and the pain and tears appear on their faces.

One young mother pointed out marks in her ceiling where the family’s dining room table hit against it while she and her 2 children and neighbors were seeking safety in the attic. Another couple and their disabled adult son, still living in a tiny trailer, were so glad to be able to have help so that they could move into their home.

On this trip we spent time helping a single woman with her home. She received some insurance money so had been able to have some of the work done on her home; but had spent much of her free time, when she was not teaching, helping others less fortunate with their homes. She could not believe that someone would help her.

Where ever we go we are called “angels”. The gratitude of those living there is so strong. We are told that our presence alone brings hope to those living there … They are reminded that others care for them. They have not been forgotten.

Giving to others as an individual … as a couple … or as a family … is a wonderful way to put life and problems in a healthier perspective. Sharing positive experiences builds connection to each other. Learning new skills, like hanging drywall or how to frame a window, brings an increase in self-confidence. Watching others who have survived significant difficulties … and continue to be hopeful gives strength and hope that you can also survive challenging times.

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