“Faith in Action” is one of the hoped-for outcomes from Wellspring. So much so that we are piloting an entire curriculum on it. Before Wellspring, I assumed “Faith in Action” meant volunteering at a food cupboard or nursing home. Or picketing for a social justice cause. This often paralyzed me into inaction along with a big dose of guilt.
I am one of seven children, so learned a lot early on about competition and survival of the fittest. Best to always look out for yourself first. This doesn’t predispose me to being overly helpful to others. I’m not too proud of my learned first impulse. But as I’ve aged, awareness allows me to not always go with that more self-centered reaction.
Wellspring helped me understand that “Faith in Action” comes in many flavors, most of them small, everyday acts. Mostly it takes an ability to get past the small self of my upbringing to look around right here, right now.
For example, last week I was fortunate to escape the northern freeze for four days in Florida. That’s not a long time, so when we got off the plane we hurried through a grocery store to stock up so we could get out in the sunshine.
Of course, I inadvertently picked the checkout line with the little old man slowly putting his groceries on the conveyor. First reaction of mine? “Darn, why did I get stuck behind this old guy?” To make it worse, it was the week before Valentine’s Day, and the cashier informs him he forgot to get an envelope to go with his card. Which was at the far end of the store. He seemed confused. I’m embarrassed to say I got even more agitated.
And then, thanks to some of my Wellspring training, a soft warmth of compassion kicked in. This 85-year-old man probably has an 85-year-old wife who can’t even get out. And here he is getting a card several days early. My mad dash to the beach was replaced with genuine caring. I said, “Can I help you, sir? I’d be happy to go find a matching envelope.” And I was happy to go.
Now was that a mini “Faith in Action”? I hope so. And who was it for? On the surface, for the old papa. But really, a week later, I’m remembering that with more warmth than the extra five minutes at the ocean would have given me.
Paying attention. Seeing others with compassion. Looking for what’s needed right now. That’s was Wellspring teaches. I am grateful.