2017-01-18 / News

In January, Wonderful People Lend a Hand

by Elaine Parke

Some stories are what news people call "evergreen." This means they are newsworthy but don't have to be published immediately. This is an evergreen story, but with the 12 Habits for Wonderful People, this is a January story. The story is about the funeral for a man who was not famous but who, in his own hometown, was widely known, loved and respected.

His funeral was attended by great crowds of people. Everyone who attended received a copy of the book he had quietly written called The Secret of a Happy Life. The book was published just before he died. That book may be the only book in history, ever to be read in its entirety by every person who received it. Why?

Because inside, on the first page was printed one word, “SERVICE”. The rest of the 250 pages were blank.

It’s easy to know what life meant to the man who wrote that book. He got the point of his life. His book and his point, “To Be of SERVICE” reminds me of a man who also lived in this century who delivered a similar message to the world. Unlike the first man, he was famous and his name was Gandhi. Once when a reporter asked him for a message to give to his people he replied, “My life is my message.”

What is the point of life? What messages do we send with our lives? How do we spend the 1,440 minutes we each have every single day? No one has one second more or less. Where do we find the answers to happiness? There is a great deal of evidence to show that woven through many of the moments that give meaning and worth to our lives, is the quality of giving.

At a Wonderful People workshop I once asked everyone to describe a “bright spot” from their own day. Even I was amazed to note that 62 of the “bright spots” mentioned from the 70 people were about “giving” in some form or another.

One woman in the room explained both her bright spot as the reason she had been late. She had had a flat tire and someone had stopped to help her. Then a man in the room mentioned that his “bright spot” involved stopping to help someone with a flat tire. They were not the same event and yet the beauty of the day for each of these people revolved around being the receiver and the giver of help.

Giving and helping others is indeed a key, and perhaps the primary ingredient of a happy meaningful life. The 31 days of January form the first month of each year and set the tone for the rest of each new year, now 2017. We view January as brimming with possibilities and somehow as a time to more easily rid ourselves of unwanted habits and baggage. Here in our own community, let's each look around and see what we can do to help.

Return to top