Amos 6:1a, 4-7
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
As I read the Scripture readings for today, the "Golden Rule" kept playing in the background of my mind. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." When I was in grade school, one of my teachers had this on the bulletin board in her classroom. It was one of the first things you would see walking into the room. I was young and it took awhile for the meaning of this phrase to become clear to me (I think the word "unto" is what threw me off). I finally understood! Do/act toward others as I would want them to do/act towards me.
The readings for today highlight to me how the rich bask in the comfort and glory of the material things they have during life, but the poor know the riches awaiting them in heaven. How do we balance the comforts we may have in life, while sacrificing something for those less fortunate; and not just financially. We may be rich in many aspects of our life: love, happiness, good health, family life, friends, etc. How can we share our riches with someone not as blessed?
I am reminded of this past July 4th. My family and I went to the annual Fourth of July parade; the same parade we’ve attended for over 20 years. This year however, it was an extremely hot day in Chicago. I think the heat index was above 100 degrees. So, we packed our chairs and water bottles to try and make the heat more tolerable.
As I sat in the sun and watched the band march by, I noticed an elderly gentleman walking toward the parade. He walked very slowly and was by himself. I thought to myself, "I hope he’s ok in this heat." He got to the street and stood to watch the parade go by. After about five minutes I couldn’t let this go on. I got up, moved my chair into the shade, introduced myself and asked him to sit down. I proceeded to give him a cold bottle of water and made him drink some. At first he was reluctant, but I think when he saw I wasn’t going to take no for an answer, he relented and was very appreciative.
I later learned that it took him 45 minutes to walk the three blocks from his house. He is 99 years old, widowed 20 years, a retired Navy Captain and the last surviving member of his crew. After the parade I pulled my car up and gave him a ride home. Again, he was very appreciative.
The whole rest of the day I felt so happy and really good about myself; not in an arrogant way. I thought that if that were me at that age, I would like someone to do that for me. It was an opportunity for me to do something really good and I seized it. It also became a great opportunity for my teenage sons to see the goodness in people. I have always tried to teach them to be considerate of others, to do something nice and not expect anything in return. I followed the Golden Rule, I shared my comforts and the gratitude I received that day was more than enough for me.
Claire Smith ([email protected]) is on staff at the Holy Cross Province Development Office in Chicago, Illinois.