He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, October 26, 2015

Going The Extra Mile

             My friend tells the story of her little one, Layla, who had a special stuffed duck she called, Darla. Layla carried Darla everywhere.  In fact, it was the only way Layla would drift off to sleep at night.  If Darla fell out of the crib, regardless the hour, Layla could not sleep until Darla was back in her tiny hands.  My friends went on vacation at Christmas time when Darla was about four, and of course, Darla came along. They left to return home before Layla was completely awake and somehow, to everyone’s horror, after the return trip home, it was discovered Darla was left behind.  Calling the hotel where they stayed, it was discovered Darla was indeed in the hands of others who would have to take care of her until she was returned to Layla. 

            The parents weren’t quite sure what to tell Layla to ease her pain until they talked with the hotel staff, who suggested they tell her Darla was part of a special team assigned to help bake cookies for visiting children. When the return of Darla arrived in the mail, they were delighted to see photos of the baking project with Darla overseeing, and a box of cookies to eat!  This is a great illustration of going the extra mile.  Certainly the hotel had no obligation to accommodate the child, aside from returning the left behind animal, but gave the child the visual of something important, easing her anxiety.

            Given the world we live in with a plethora of differing views and opinions there are times when we find ourselves in situations we’d really rather not be in.  Yet this is the perfect time to go the extra mile.  It presents the opportunity to extend our hearts filled with the love of Christ, unmatched any other way.  We all want others to accept us where we are, even when we aren’t right.  And it’s okay to disagree.  But to disagree in love can be problematic, when we refuse to accept others when they disagree with us. 

            I am not remotely suggesting we have to accept what we don’t believe, but rather accept the person, and if agreeing is not an option, then agree to disagree, at least until a later time when emotions are not running at a full gallop and thoughts can be expressed without anger or hostility.  This, too, is going the extra mile.

            There are many ways we can go the “extra mile” in our every day lives, if we are open to stretching ourselves.  Sometimes it takes the flowing of creative juices to come up with something unique, but it can absolutely be done.  In the meantime some suggestions might include sending the author of a particularly interesting book a note telling the author why you thought it was special; when grocery shopping and you find a deal requiring a purchase of two and get one free, give the “free” one to a neighbor; invite a homeless person to dinner or take a book and a gift basket to a senior in a nursing home.

            My point is there are so many ways to offer a kindness, which for the recipient is going the extra mile, because it is way more than they expected! It is what Jesus did every day.  So I challenge you to evaluate your every day experiences.  Let your creative juices run wild, as you birth new ideas to recharge other people’s lives, with ways you can go the extra mile.

     #travel  #randomactsofkindness  #kindness  #goingtheextramile