Sometimes those human interest stories at the end of newscasts really get to me. It happened tonight. The story told about a teacher who asked one of her students about her birthday party. The little girl told her she had never had a birthday party, or even a slice of her own birthday cake. The teacher said when she heard those words her breath was taken away. It moved her so much that she quit her job and started her own non-profit organization. Now she raises money so that low income, underprivileged, and homeless children can have their very own birthday party, gifts and all.
Now this woman buys the gifts, dresses up in costumes, and brings the cakes to the parties. Professional baseball teams have gotten involved. Volunteers help out. And the smiles on the children’s faces beam like the sun. The story brought a lump to my throat.
You don’t have to start a non-profit or even throw a birthday party to bring joy or uplift. The same can be done even in the most mundane situations. Walter Wangerin, Jr. reminds us of this when he writes:
Every time you meet another human being you have the opportunity. It’s a chance at holiness. For you will do one of two things. Either you will build him up or you will tear him down. There are no useless, minor meetings. There are no dead-end jobs. There are no pointless lives. Swallow your sorrows; forget your grievances and all the hurt your poor life has sustained. Turn your face truly to the human before you and let her, for one pure moment, shine. Think her important, and then she will suspect that she is fashioned of God.
So do something special today. Go with your compassionate idea. Throw a birthday party. Sit face to face with someone. Make the visit you promised you would. You might even come up with an idea that leads to a non-profit organization.
What will you do to make someone smile today?