Bloom Where You’re Planted – but please don’t stay there

This past Saturday morning I spoke to a small group of ladies about God’s hope and peace in our lives. From my heart to theirs, I gave them ways to help re-write tragedy and celebrate triumph. The saying is true.  Bloom where you’re planted! But please don’t stay there.  In the middle of my sharing the promise for a future and a hope, unfathomable destruction was sadly near for thousands of people.

 

After my talk, I received a text from one of the women.  Scripture transformed as poetry; it came alive like music to my heart.
She shines 
bright
with my
heavenly
Father’s pure
light
She shines like
the sun in the
sky
with love onto
everyone who walks by 

 

Ashley’s text made me think about our capacity to bloom elsewhere, even in places far beyond our reach. When people reach out to help another, when the world rallies after disaster strikes, when a blanket is shared, when a smile is brought through tears, or a shoulder simply given to lean on – that’s how tragedy gets re-written.

 

Life’s tragedies often come without any warning … then demand all we have to give. 

 

That’s how it was when twin earthquakes hit Japan and the strongest earthquake in two decades hit Ecuador, all just days apart.  It seems no one saw it coming. Thousands of people are devastated. It compelled thousands to immediately begin re-writing the tragedies – to bloom hope – beyond where they are planted.  

 

The BBC reported major international and aid organizations are sending help. The World Food Programme is sending enough to feed 8,000 of the most severely affected people.  The UN refugee agency is sending shelter and mosquito nets in an airlift.  Oxfam sent its first shipment of material providing safe drinking water.  Save the Children is working “around the clock” and trying to ensure children can continue their education despite the damage. A group of Ecuadorian physicians completing their residency-fellowship training in the United States and other countries banned together on a fundraising platform to collect for the Ecuadorian Red Cross and the Archdiocese of Quito.  Global Giving organized earthquake relief for Kumamoto Japan to receive emergency supplies like food, water, and medicine, in addition to longer term recovery assistance.

 

That’s how it is when the unfathomable happens.  Research shows that when we see others being harmed, our brains react in ways as if we were being harmed. Fellow Dacher Keltner at the University of California, Berkley, coined a compassionate instinct, saying “compassion is a natural and automatic response that has ensured our survival.”  Research shows that compassion boosts our well-being by increasing a sense of connection to others.  We are essentially wired to practice compassion. Those compelled to “plant seeds” experience physical benefits.  Compassionate connection strengthens our immune system, helps us recover from disease faster, and may lengthen our lives.

 

We can even benefit from what I’d term compassionate ripple effects

 

The brilliant documentary  “I Am” (available on Netflix) emulated such a phenomenon. The film posed two practical and provocative questions:
What’s wrong with the world?
What can we do to make it better? 

 

You alone cannot erase disaster or disease or suffering.  However, when we come together we can ease suffering from either, in ways no one person can alone.

 

Never doubt it.  Re-writing tragedy – near or far – can bloom a world of difference.  That’s how the promise for a future and a hope is cultivated.

You can shine 
bright
with my
heavenly
Father’s pure
light
You can shine like
the sun in the
sky
with love onto
everyone who walks by  

I’d love to hear where your heart has led you to bloom and shine.

 

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