Texas resident Julie Young gathered her children around the fireplace and huddled together. They were layered in all the clothes they could manage and took turns warming their pet gecko. Day 2 of no power and it was starting to feel overwhelming. So they hung a poster and labeled it “Snowpocalypse Blessings Chart.” The mood in the frigid home was transformed and the family started reaching out to help others also in need.
“It’s been a challenging time, but the unity has been a beautiful silver lining. And it will continue for a long time because we have a lot of messes to clean up,” said Julie. Looking outside of ourselves—especially in our hardest moments—will bring positive energy and connection. Our focus is altered, and we can recognize the blessings all around us. Service allows us to discover the power of unity.
The Harvard Women’s Health Watch reported: “Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.” Being unified with those around us fulfills our inner desire for connection. Creating oneness with others helps us develop respect for those with differing opinions and values. A solid support system and new friendships are found when we strive for unity.
In art, unity “refers to how different elements of design work come together and create a sense of wholeness” (National 5 Art and Design Revision). A simple stroke on a canvas isn’t nearly as impressive as the hundreds of tiny details of color coming together for the final product. Similarly, when we work together with our community or our family or a close friend to serve others, we create something truly beautiful. Combining our efforts and reaching out with kindness allows us to make a greater impact and share more light.
When my sister passed away a few months ago, my entire immediate family (about 20 people!) flew in and stayed at my home for a week while we made funeral arrangements. We were shown a lot of love in a variety of ways, but it was the out-of-the-box ideas that really made an impact. My in-laws got really creative and sent me a fridge. That’s right, a refrigerator. They were halfway across the country, but knew I was hosting a lot of people and that we had a lot of food being delivered. That garage fridge was filled within hours of it being installed. I’m thankful for my in-laws’ creativity.
There are people hurting all over the world right now. Freezing temperatures with no power—for days. Windstorms and fires. Loss of employment. What if you were in their shoes? Think of something you could do that would really help alleviate their burden. Not every hurting person needs a plate of cookies delivered to their door. What could really help?
If you’ve recently experienced the creative, kind gesture of someone—start a list! As you create a brainstorm of out-of-the-box ideas, you’ll see opportunities to share. Remember to listen to your inner voice too. Your intuition will help you get creative. And then, your mind and your body can put it into action.
Your Daily Dose of Service
You don’t have to travel the world building shelters or helping with food shortages to make a positive difference. (Although props to you if this is your thing!) Simple acts of service right in your own home or community will help you create bonds with those closest to you.
I once read an inspirational article about how to discover balance in life. It gave an interesting suggestion—to center my daily goals around serving others. The more I’ve thought about this idea, the more I recognize how powerful this simple change could be. If each one of us looked for an opportunity to show kindness every day, our world would be a very different place. So, let’s try it. Take a moment of quiet and listen to your inner voice. Who comes to mind? Write down a simple way to serve them today. Then try this exercise again tomorrow. As you plan your days, reflect on the people in your life and create space to share your light and love with them.
Don’t let the news and social media and the negative voices of the world convince you that we live in a divided world and that all hope is lost. Unity can be achieved. And it will—one kind gesture, one person, one act of service at a time. It starts with you. Are you in?