September 06, 2005

Good day, team,

In the wake of the hurricane disaster, I cannot help but challenge all of us to be grateful for what we have and to give what we can. When we are reminded how temporal life really is, it becomes clear that each moment counts and every act of kindness is crucial.

In talking with a friend from Baton Rouge this past week, I was reminded of how much little things matter. He owns an office building that is being used as part hospital, part shelter for the homeless, and as a communications hub, since he has an 800 number that’s working. He and his family have been without power for four days. Fortunately, his relatives in New Orleans got out in time, but they have no idea what shape their homes are in.

During our conversation, he asked me how the weather was here in Portland. Given the tone of our conversation and the challenging conditions he was facing, I thought it was an odd question to ask me. But I went ahead and described how beautiful the weather has been lately. He replied that it was good for him to hear what a lovely summer we were enjoying, that it helped him feel there would be better days ahead, with finer weather, improved facilities, and some sense of normalcy. At the end of our conversation, he mentioned that the calmness in my voice helped to make him feel better.

We rarely know what little things we’ve done that help another person. It’s in the spirit of our giving that the true benefit occurs. Try giving from your heart this week. If you can give to the disaster relief, don’t wait. If you can give to other people to lift their burdens, don’t hesitate. We are all in this together, and even the smallest gift benefits all of us.

I hope you too are inspired by these words of Ruth Smeltzer: “You have not lived a perfect day, even though you have earned your money, unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”

Have a grateful week!


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