|Author||Stephen G. Post|
In his latest book, The Hidden Gifts of Helping, Stephen G. Post tells of the difficult time he and his family had in relocating from a beloved city to a new place after his job, as he writes, "more or less disappeared out from under me." In this time of frequent dislocation and economic hardship, many families find themselves in the same boat, and even those of us who move voluntarily and with eager anticipation can have a tough time of it. But, as Post demonstrates with his own story, we can ease the personal pain of hard times by giving of ourselves to others. We don't have to make huge, dramatic gestures, he says. Even a small one, like smiling at someone or offering a sincere compliment, can improve a stranger's day, and benefit the giver as well. So many of us believe we're too busy to take the time to help someone else by "official" volunteering, but if we're honest, we're probably not all that busy, and the rewards, as Post shows, can be great.
This book is mostly about the individual helping another or others. But as I read it, it was impossible to not think of how our society these days seems so fragmented into opposing camps, and how some of those camps not only appear unwilling to assist those who genuinely need help but also denigrate them for needing it. I believe the hallmark of a great society is how well it cares for those most in need of help, and in that respect, we are failing miserably. What we seem to have forgotten as a society is summed up beautifully by Post in these few sentences: "Love is like the sun, and we are like sunflowers. The more we are turned toward love, the more abundantly we live. And is love is the glue that binds us together with others in the communities that make life joyful."