Recently, I was travelling across the upper plains, when I woke up to the thermometer reading negative 26 degrees. I hadn't experienced these kinds of temperatures since I lived in Minnesota as a child.
Yet, somehow, I forgot that the cold can really sting. I forgot that the weather can change drastically in an instant. I forgot that you don't sit next to a drafty door in a coffee shop. I simply forgot that Jack Frost is still a formidable enemy.
But - the one thing I never forgot, is the need to help others during the freezing cold days of winter. Whether it be donating blankets, or helping a struggling family with heating costs, or simply checking in with elderly neighbors - all are desperately needed.
When it comes to helping others during the winter, I take my cues from Rich Besel, a friend of mine's father, who has been helping his rural community for years.
One of Rich's neighbors, a kind, elderly woman, well into her nineties, was still living on her country acreage and needed help with snow removal. Once Rich became aware of her need, he immediately got involved, clearing out her driveway anytime a winter storm would roll through. He never charged a dime and remarked that he did it because 'it was the right thing to do'.
After Rich's neighbor passed away, he reasoned that someone else might need his help. Guess what? He didn't have to look too far as there was another elderly lady, just down the road, who needed the same service.
I've been an admirer of Rich's service-to-others lifestyle for a while now, and after chatting with him, I jotted down a few observations about becoming 'rich' through serving others.
Be on the lookout for basic needs.
Helping others survive should be a default setting for humans, but sometimes we take for granted that everyone has the essentials and forget that there are people in need. If we live with our eyes open, purposefully looking for ways to help, all it takes is acting on what you see and know is right.
Be faithful in duty.
When the decision is made to act, do it with a joyful attitude. Don't do something grudgingly. Feeling guilty (in my opinion) is not a good reason to get involved. If the act is something that needs to be done more than once, figure out a way to do the task on a regular schedule and ask others to join in if the situation allows.
Be willing to do the right thing for free.
Not everything in life needs to be done for profit. If you can do something for free, do it. One will quickly find out what kind of person they are when there is no monetary reward involved. Besides, the currency found in building strong relationships will go far beyond anything money can buy.
What are you doing that makes you rich like Rich? I'd love to hear the ways you are reaching out during the cold days of winter.
If you need suggestions on where to get started, Create the Good has a fantastic resource to help you search for ways to help others.
Picture Credit: paul_houle