November is for…

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Do you ever get that feeling when you hear the rain pouring outside but you’re all cosy inside? It’s a feeling that makes you feel warm and comfortable. You know the feeling?

Well my mum has totally ruined it for me.

I remember a few times when me and my sister were little and used to get into bed on a rainy, windy night my mum would ask if we could hear the rain. We’d listen to it pouring and say ‘yes!’. Then she’d ask if we felt all cosy, which is where that warm feeling would creep in as we’d snuggle down under our covers and say ‘yes’ again. And just as we felt ready to drift off to sleep in a cosy warm haze my mum would say ‘Well remember, there are thousands of people outside who aren’t cosy and warm tonight, but wet and cold. They don’t have houses and beds to go to’. I remember we’d talk about the wet and cold people together, and when she left I’d lie there and feel sad for them.

My sister and I used to moan (and joke) about mum’s reminders about the homeless people. We used to tell her she totally ruined our cosy moment. But now I’m older I realise my mum has got this beautiful quality of noticing people and caring about them, and I realise that way back on those rainy nights she was beginning to pass this ‘noticing’ onto us. Like when I started secondary school, on the very first day of year 7, she said to me ‘Remember to watch out for the people who look lost, lonely or don’t seem to have any friends’. My mum was beginning to teach me that it’s a choice to care for those around us, a choice that if made regularly can become a healthy habit.

Since then there are many occasions when I’ve seen her noticing people – speaking to people around her in queues and caring about their lives, doing shopping for the elderly, making meals for those who are sick, comforting people who have lost loved ones, kneeling down on the pavement to chat with those in sleeping bags, visiting the frail lady down the road. My mum teaches me that my life shouldn’t be focused entirely on myself but that I have a role to play in the lives of others. If we don’t notice and care for those around us, we end up going through life with ourselves at the centre – self-centered, and miss out on learning from others around us.

So my question is – can you make more of an effort to notice the unnoticed? To care for the uncared for? And to offer help to those who look like they’ve lost their way?
I love this quote by Mother Teresa –
‘Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people.’

Can you imagine how much of an impact we’d have if we all chose to watch out for people who needed to be cheered up? – the girl at school who looks upset, the lady on the bus who could use a hand or offering to do the washing up for your tired looking parents.

This quality of noticing people is a choice, will you join me in making it a healthy habit?

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