Be a Noticer (It's my blog - I'll make up words if I want to)

I missed the month of November.  No, really, what happened to it?  By the time I realized I wasn't listing out my daily gratitude for all of social media to read, the month was half gone.  And I can't start something halfway.  That's not my style.

Anyway, gratitude isn't something that should be confined to November anymore than celebrating [the birth of] Jesus should be confined to the month of December.  This is exactly the reason I made the executive decision as the self-dubbed Christmas Party coordinator for our Sunday School class to postpone our Christmas party until January.  Because what better to wipe away some Winter Blues with a party celebrating the reason for our hope?  There isn't one.  Thank you.  Gratitude is a choice.  A lifestyle.  And to balance out my last post which, to be honest, started out a little drearily, I'm tipping the scales toward the positive.  You know, like a yin for a yan, except not, because the whole Baptist thing. 

I've called out some folks in posts before - the ones who work hard Whatever They Do - the ones who show kindness to strangers whether its convenient or 100 degrees outside (and I know about these people because the stranger was me).  These are my favorite kind of people.  The ones who do it without glory or accolades.  The ones who are simply serving others because it's who they are or maybe who they have inside of them.  The ones who do the thankless tasks. 

"Thankless tasks" was a term my high school journalism teacher used on a regular basis.  I'm so glad he did because it really stuck with me.  He always noticed when someone would tidy up the newspapers or clean out the supply cabinet or wipe down the tables and sweep up the x-acto knifed shreds of paper on the floor.  Now, I intend to notice when others do the thankless tasks.  They aren't "thankless" at all.  It's like laundry.  It really piles up quickly when no one does it.  But no one really notices until everyone's out of clean underwear.

I'm an observer by nature.  I think most introverts are.  I watch people.  (Whoa, creepy.)  But I like to think I am an notice of the people who do the thankless things.  I always want to make them brownies or write them a card.  If I were endlessly wealthy, I'd give them all a gift card for some pampering or fine cuisine (everyone likes Sonic, right?). 

The welcome team at church that gets there 45 minutes before everyone else to man the doors and make guests and members feel at home.

The sanitation workers who faithfully remove the trash from my curbside week after week so that I don't have to carry it off to a dumpster.

The young man who bags my groceries at Publix and insists on helping me out to the car with them (without promise or hope of a tip) just because its their store policy to do so.

Every Chick-Fil-A employee who responds to my thank you with "My pleasure" like they sincerely mean it.

The young men walking in front of me who look behind them before running off and hold the door like gentlemen.

The janitorial staff.  Everywhere.

The receptionist that takes the most flack in the office, but always wears a smile.

The hospice nurse whose job it is to help people die comfortably.

The labor and delivery nurse whose profession is usually so joy-filled, but who sometimes also has to walk through the very darkest of hours with their patients.

The behind-the-scenes decorators who make seasons come alive and patrons feel warm and welcome.

The UPS man who works relentlessly during the holidays.

The volunteer soccer and basketball coaches who give up at least three hours a week to devote to each of my kids.

The volunteer firefighters who sacrifice family time, holidays, and sleep in their own beds to keep my family safe if the need arises.

The librarians who greet my kids like they are genuinely happy to see them walk through the doors and provide programs above and beyond the duty of a library.

The bathroom attendants at Target who make it a not-so-icky public bathroom into which I can take my brood to relieve themselves.

The cashier who works retail during the holidays but does not once, ever, grumble about working retail during the holidays. 

The Sunday School teachers and nursery workers who faithfully show up every Sunday to pour into my kids and the other kids at our church.

The spouses who stay on the homefront and singlehandedly care for their families day after day after day because their other half is somewhere far away, safe or not, protecting all of our families.

Do you see what I'm getting at here?  Maybe I'll get them all a hug this Christmas.

This season, I challenge you to be a noticer.  Not because I told you to.  But because it's a life-changer to pour into someone who is tired or lonely or downcast or weary or none of those things at all.  It's nice to be thanked.  It's just right to notice the people who do the thankless things.  Who give of themselves and expect nothing in return.  Let's give them something.  Let's give them our gratitude. It's as simple as a few life-giving words. 


Sharon said...

Good for you, Jennie!

I always make a point of using a person's name if they're wearing a name tag. It just makes a difference to "notice" them in that way. And just yesterday, hubby and I were in town doing errands and we came across a homeless guy sitting outside the door of a store. We gave him some money, and then I asked him (spontaneously, thank you Holy Spirit), "Do you get cold? Would you like a blanket?" To which he said yes. So, we ran across the street and bought a blanket and a sweatshirt and some more water for him. It felt so good.

It's got me thinking about the whole idea of reaching out to the homeless. There are many in the town off the hill where we go for our "big" shopping. It breaks my heart.

Let's keep praying about all this, and let's keep noticing.


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