Tagged with Faith in Daily Life

Faith In Daily Life: The Give-it-Away Kitchen Revolution

This past month, we have been asking members and friends to reflect on the question, “How does my faith impact my daily life?”

A give-it-away revolution took place in my kitchen this morning. The seeds of this revolution were only planted two days ago when I saw a video that recommended that people give away to charity the excess or duplicate “stuff” we all have in our lives/homes. The revolution gained momentum yesterday when my friend Priscilla told me that Household Goods (HG) where she volunteers is in desperate need of kitchen goods.

But the shot heard ‘round the kitchen was fired this morning when I tried to put a plastic storage container into the kitchen drawer, but it wouldn’t fit because there were so many other similar containers in that drawer.

That last event was, as they say, the “ah ha moment.” I realized that I have so many kitchen goods that I can’t even fit them in my spacious drawers and cabinets. The call from the video to give away my excess stuff came rushing back. And Priscilla’s plea for kitchen goods for HG sealed the deal. So in less than an hour, I filled five boxes with excess or duplicate kitchen items for HG. I found that there were generally three categories of items for donation from my kitchen. Here are a few examples of the many things in those five boxes:

I have too many of this: The second blender, excess steak and paring knives, potato mashers (how could I have accumulated 3 of these?), the second wok

I use this too little :3 sets of chopsticks, 4 plastic serving bowls (great when my kids were young, but they are in their 20’s now), a stainless steel pitcher

Would I keep this if I were moving? Good stuff, but forget about it…including 6 extra coffee mugs, a large cooking pot, a brand new cheese cutting board that I got for Christmas, still in its box.

How refreshing for me! Several drawers that had so many kitchen tools crammed into them are now freed from their clutter! I can quickly see the cheese grater that I really like, and I no longer have to cram it in with those surplus potato mashers. Removing that large cooking pot lets me see the three other pots in that drawer that I love cooking with.

But lest you think I am perfect, I will admit that I did not donate the pastry rolling pin even though I have never actually used it. Who knows, now that a de-cluttering revolution has taken place in my kitchen, maybe a baking revolution can take place too?


Faith in Daily Life: David

On February 2nd, David shared this reflection during worship as part of a series in which members and friends were asked, “How does your faith impact your daily life?”

Many years ago (over 30 actually) there was a very interesting television show on called “Connections” hosted by James Burke, a British historian.  Don’t know if any of you saw any of the episodes but the premise of the show was that unconnected seemingly random events would occasionally collide to produce very unexpected outcomes.  My little testimony this morning is an example of this phenomenon and hopefully you will find it a bit inspiring, or at least somewhat interesting as I share a piece of me that, heretofore has been only known by a couple of people in my life, namely Ruth and Keith and even they have never heard the whole story.

To begin this little saga I need to gather all of you as we step into Mr. Peabody’s WABAC machine and travel back in time to October, 2003.  We had just moved to the area, I had a new job in Cambridge and was undergoing daily cancer treatments at MGH.  That in itself is a bizarre story but that’s not what I’m going to talk about this morning, but it’s an important part of the story.  So, every day I would hop on the T and make the joyous commute on the Red Line from Central Square to the Charles/MGH T Stop and head over to MGH.  This went on for about 8 weeks.  Well, for those of you who remember that beautiful edifice known as the Charles/MGH station back then, it was slated for demolition back in 2003 and for good reason but while it was a dilapidated piece of steel and concrete, it had one feature that the current station does not – a viaduct that connected the station to the north side of Charles Street allowing passengers to avoid crossing the street to get to the hospital.

Now those of you who regularly ride the T know that there is a certain culture that exists among the passenger community – a type of anonymity that allows you to ride almost cheek to cheek without ever actually acknowledging that you are surrounded by a sea of people.  So, it’s with that mindset that I’m trudging off for daily treatments and you couple that with the brain fog that kind of develops when you’re getting daily radiation treatments to your head and neck, well lets just say I was in my own world most of the time.  I just wanted to get in get treated and get back to work.  So, during these daily jaunts back and forth on this walkway I would notice but not really pay attention to the fact that there would be a pile of clothes in the corner at the top of the stairs on the hospital side of Charles Street.  Then one day for no apparent reason than I saw the clothes move I realized that there was a person inside the pile and realized that one of Boston’s many homeless had camped out there to get out of the cold and accept whatever meager offerings the passersby would donate.  One day I decided to contribute to her needs and, as I gave the person some money, she looked up and said God Bless You.  Well, something clicked inside – actually it was more like a snap.  It’s one of those rare ‘moments of clarity’ that you get a few times in your life, when you see a path and just know that it’s the one that you need to take.  You can call it an ‘Aha Moment’, a ‘Jesus Story’, a ‘Vision from God’, whatever, but what I said back basically was going to change our two lives forever.  So I said, ‘God has already blessed me, dear; it’s about time he started to bless you.’  That began a love affair that my wife knows about and fully supports, BTW, that continues to this day.  So the story has many turns and twists and like any relationship has had its rocky moments and its happy ones.  A recent one was just last month Debra (that’s her name) called me up and said, “Dave, I’m turning 60 on Saturday and I’d like to have a party with my grandson.  Can you help?”  Well, how can you say no to a request like that?

I’ll not take you any further down this path.  I was hesitant to even share this because this has been part of my life path and, you know, some things you just like to keep private.  I decided to talk about this, though, because I wanted you to think about this little vignette the next time you see a homeless person asking for help.  Buried inside the tattered clothes is a person who needs help and, when you do, God truly does bless you.  Amen.

Faith in Daily Life: Sharon

On February 16th, Sharon shared this reflection during worship as part of a series in which members and friends were asked, “How does your faith impact your daily life?”

When Keith asked me to talk about how my faith had impacted my everyday life, I immediately thought of an experiment I had done a few years ago, which I nicknamed, “Just Say Yes.”

I was and am involved in a variety of different groups, and had reached that point where people in those groups were always asking me to volunteer for different tasks. Some of you are very familiar with this issue! And so when I was asked, I would go through the usual thought process: “Is this something I feel comfortable doing? Is this something I can do well enough that I’d be good at it? Is it going to fit into my schedule easily?” Sometimes I’d say yes, sometimes I’d say no, but there was always a lot of internal debate. But then I felt my faith pushing me to take all those thoughts out of the picture, and just trust that if I were needed enough to be asked, then I should Just Say Yes, and it was what I was meant to be doing.

Now, I wasn’t totally crazy about this; I felt OK saying no to things that were logistically impossible, and I didn’t feel like I had to make a life-long commitment to this approach.  But I did feel that my faith was pushing me to do it for a couple years. So how did it play out? I’ll give you just 2 of the many possible examples.

One came up when I was a deacon, and we were discussing who could bring communion to Mary Crocker, over at Acton Life Care. I had a mental laundry list of reasons why I didn’t want to do this: I hadn’t visited a nursing home in 30 years and didn’t know how they worked. I’d only met Mary once, and didn’t think she’d remember me. And although Hannah had written a great script for home-based communion, I still felt awkward about the parts that involved praying out loud, and exactly how to handle everything. But I said Yes. And I bet you can guess how it turned out.

First, visiting a nursing home as an adult is much less scary than as a child visiting a dying grandparent. And if you tell a staffer that you’re from a church bringing communion to a resident, they’re more than happy to help you find the right room and let you wheel the person down to lunch whenever you’re done. Mary wasn’t too clear on who I was, but her face lit up when she realized someone from West Concord was there to bring her communion. And the look of utter peace on her face, as she received communion, reminded me that she had loved and felt blessed by this sacrament for nearly a century, and whatever words I might say, she was also hearing a century’s worth of other blessings right along with it.

So here’s a second example, far more secular. For 8 years now, Mark and I have been doing set up at Open Table. Typically we’d do it one Monday each month, so it wasn’t a big time commitment, although it was always a bit of a hassle for me to leave work early. But then some of the other volunteers left, and I was asked if we could do it twice a month. So I said Yes. And wouldn’t you know it, by volunteering just slightly more often, we finally managed to get the routine down pat. I didn’t need to bring a checklist each time, and Mark didn’t need to be shown how to do each step.

After a few months, Mark’s best friend Ravi noticed that Mark wasn’t as available afterschool on Mondays. Ravi’s mom found out why, and mentioned that she’d been looking for a way that she and Ravi could volunteer together. And to make a long story short, for the last few years, they’ve been volunteering two Mondays each month, I volunteer once unless I’m also covering for someone else, and Mark winds up there 2 or 3 Mondays each month since he helps Ravi’s shifts almost as much as he’s there with me.

Life changes, and other commitments and energy levels change.  I’ve since taken a step back from some things I used to do.  But I’m very glad that my faith pushed me to approach volunteering in a new way, and taught me to let go of my perfectionist and somewhat neurotic approach, and Just Say Yes.