Self Serving, By Lorie Sheffer, Guest Blogger

Photo: Lori Sheffer

Sometimes we must think of ourselves. It’s hard to do when our main concern is to help others. We are taught early on that putting the needs of others before our own needs is virtuous. We learn that “selfish” is a bad thing to be. And yet if we don’t care for ourselves we really can’t take care of anyone else.

Incredibly, in the last few weeks I have been through a hurricane, an earthquake, a flood and a medical emergency. In fact the flood was the same day as the medical emergency. Days were spent cleaning up our flooded basement and then driving to the hospital. Some days I forgot to eat. Last night I noticed that my hands were shaking and I felt lightheaded. I had been going on too little sleep, too much stress and very little food. I also found the order for my yearly mammogram tucked into the rungs of the stair rails. I didn’t schedule it because I didn’t want it to interfere with my father’s outpatient treatments that required me for transportation.

How stupid to allow ourselves to become rundown and tired, the result of trying to put the needs of another before our own. If we really want to care for someone else, we have to care for ourselves. We have to remember to eat even more healthily, try to get extra sleep, and keep up with our own medications and appointments. Even when stress is high and our appetite is low, foods like hard boiled eggs, cereal bars, peanut butter on whole grain bread or small cans of vegetable juice are easy to grab on the way out the door and can be eaten in the car or stashed in a purse or backpack. When sleep is hard to come by, even a 30-minute nap can be a huge help. I type these words while my eyes are heavy, but a nap awaits me. If I get sick, who is going to step in to take over? Not caring for myself would, in fact, be selfish.

People Were Thankful

The Families we visited yesterday were very thankful for the Food donations that were delivered:

We visited an upscale home for the first time in ten years.  My son and I received warm and grateful greetings at every stop. One man even gave me a big hug.

I reminded our son (9) why we started this “three-times-a-year Food For Families tradition” ten years ago.

“If two boys are standing next to an adult, and one uses his manners and the other doesn’t which one do you think the adult will trust more?”

“If two adults say serving others is important, but one actually does and the other only hopes to one day, which one do you think God will say, well done?”

In telling our son why we do this, even though it may seem small, we are actually preparing ourselves to do more. By putting others first every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter morning, we are developing a habit similar to using manners.

We are cultivating good habits.  That’s all we can really ask of ourselves, isn’t it?