Lessons I've learned along the way #11
Actively loving others results in others actively loving you.
My dad (Jack) has been home from the hospital for over a month now. If I had to guess, I would say that my parents have had over 100 visitors, several acts of service, and many, many gifts given to them during that time.
They are loved. And loved much.
And it's not just because they are nice, hospitable, and outgoing (which they are). It's because they have poured into the lives of so many, throughout the years. They have ACTIVELY loved others, in very big ways.
Here are a few examples:
*My parents were foster parents. Hard core. They began taking in children from the time I was 7 (and adopted one child, when I was a teen). With a house already filled with 5 kids, this made for a loud, crazy, ever-changing household. They lost count of how many kids came through their home, at about 300... You read that right! My parents had a hand in raising over 300 children, over 32 years... Some were temporary. Some were with us for years. How many people still to this day call them mom and dad? I don't actually know. Quite a few!
*My parents were active in the "Personal Ponies Program". http://www.personalponies.org/ For years, they had a breeding farm, where they raised UK Shetland Ponies and gave them to terminally ill and/or handicapped children. They were also the PA State Directors and Community Directors, for a time, before going back to "regular" volunteering for the program. They still have two beauties in their pasture- Shameka and Mr. Jay. They serve as a reminder of the special services that they provided, not to mention that they are a much adored attraction for visitors.
*My parents are members of the Christian Motorcycle Association, and my dad was the president of his community chapter, "Wheels for Christ". http://www.cmausa.org/ Here, they combine their love of motorcycles, Jesus, and people, by fostering relationships, spreading the love of Christ, and attending fund raisers to help others.
These are only a few of the bigger ways that they have actively loved others. In addition, my mom has done small dog and bird rescue work. She also volunteers at a local, community thrift store (Interfaith http://www.interfaithsc.org/storepage.html). And both have been active in their church (http://elishashome.com/), helping where ever they are needed.
To say that they have loved people is an understatement. They have taken that love and put it into action, over and over again.
I understand that not everyone is equipped to do all of the things that my parents have done. But my encouragement to you and the lesson to myself is simple-
If you spend your life seeking self-fulfillment then it stands to reason that you will have the person whom you've invested in most (yourself) there to help you, in times of need. But if you spend your life helping others, chances are good that they will return the favor when it's needed most. And oh what a beautiful, bonus blessing that is.