“Knowing that I can contribute forces me to admit that I am not completely broken.” Leslie
I’m not quoting myself, that was a comment from a friend (no, really!) also named Leslie, shared on a previous Monday Mitzvah post. I love it because with that statement she captured the reason for the Monday Mitzvahs. You may know that Linda Cohen, who wrote the book 1,000 Mitzvahs, started doing them to honor her father, after his death. Doing these small acts of kindness helped her heart to heal. They can be healing for us as well.
For trauma survivors, healing is, by necessity, an inward-facing project. No one can do the work for you, although a good therapist, and supportive family and friends surely help. Sometimes, though, the depression, anger, shame (insert painful emotion here) can be nearly overwhelming.
This is the reason for the mitzvahs (small acts of service). As the other Leslie said, being able to contribute even in a small way reminds that we still have value in the world, that we are not completely broken.
When you are overwhelmed with your own pain, it can be hard to reach out. Even just giving someone a smile, can feel like an insurmountable task. I know I’ve been there. After all, smiling requires eye contact, and sometimes that is the last thing you want. But you can chose your mitzvah, if you don’t feel like smiling there are many other things you can do, for example:
-say thank you to someone who has been supportive
-give someone a compliment (you can do it on-line if you’re feeling shy)
-when you are at the store, grab a cart from the parking lot and take it inside
I know those are really small things, and you may wonder what is the point. Remember though, the widow’s mite. Can you imagine the scene?
I picture a large crowd milling outside a building. It’s still early, but already the day’s heat has begun. People are approaching a small container and dropping coins inside. Most of them are ornately dressed, and imagining myself as the widow, I feel thrown back to High School with the “popular kids”. How can I approach and drop in my mites, pennies…after them with their fancy clothes and large amounts of money?
Though it pains me to admit it, my anxiety might have caused me to turn away. The widow had great faith or courage–likely both–and she approached and dropped in her coins. Remember what the Savior said about that? He said she had given more than all the others who had given more but sacrificed less. If I were her, I would have glowed beneath such praise. I would have mentally marinated in it for a week!
Our mitzvahs are our “widow’s mites’ given with faith, courage and sacrifice.
And they are accepted.
We are accepted–not broken–but accepted and loved.
Monday Mitzvahs were inspired by Linda Cohen’s book 1,000 Mitzvahs