By Randy McNeely
Why are people kind? What is it that drives people to want to help other people? Why would someone who is in the grasp of poverty themselves take the time to volunteer nearly 80 hours of their week in a homeless shelter. Why would someone in their eighties organize meals for dozens of families?
Those were the questions that were continually raised as I spoke with Scott Dahlke, Executive Director at the Muscatine Center for Social Action (MCSA). It was clear as we spoke that he is a man who has a heart of gold that is continually touched and reshaped by the multitude of kind people in this wonderful city, the pearl by the river.
I will not mention any names he listed as I don’t have permission from those individuals to do so, but I will share a few experiences he shared with me that will lead to the answer to the questions posed above.
“I was here one day,” Scott said, “and we got a call from one of the local companies that had purchased a building with a lot of furniture in it that was going to be cleared out. Rather than just getting rid of it, they wanted to know if we could use it.
“Of course, I said yes. There was just a slight problem. We didn’t have the manpower to move it. However, I was able to reach out to a couple of church pastors and a short time later I had 16 volunteers. They all came out and gave their sweat equity for nothing. They were just there because I asked for help.
“For six hours everyone busted their backs, including one of the VPs from the company that owned the building. They were all there loading moving pods, doing it with no expectation of anything in return.
“All I did was ask, and they came. That touches my heart!”
“Someone else is Tom Jones (name changed) who has a home repair organization for the elderly. I can call on him anytime and he will come and show up with a truck and a dolly.
“He’s always willing to help. He’s just a carpenter but he has great faith in God. You can’t be with him for more than two minutes without knowing about his faith.”
“Just a carpenter,” I responded. “There was someone else who was just a carpenter, whose birth we just celebrated. Tom is the carpenter following THE CARPENTER.”
“There are people in this town who have been through major challenges, yet they continue to give. They start organizations to honor loved ones and they live to bless and lift other people.
“I’ve talked to a mother who lost her daughter to suicide. It was a terrible tragedy. Yet she has bounced back and started a foundation for helping people with mental health issues. When you talk with her you can feel the love coming from her.
“I’ve often wondered,” Scott said, “How these people keep going? How is it that they are able to continue forward and continue to find the positivity that in the world?
“I wonder why it is that so many good people, out of their want continue to make donations. Why do they go out of their way to make a difference for others?”
The questions posed by Scott are questions that many people ask. They are questions that have been asked through all time.
In my experience, there is one answer and that is love.
For me, it is not just any love. It is my belief that it is the love which comes from THE CARPENTER.
It is that kind of love which touches hearts and change lives and inspires those who have been so touched to pay it forward to others.
It is the kind of love that drives so many, who seem to have nothing, to make the same statement given to a crippled man 2,000 years ago.
“Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give thee.”
In this article I have been overtly religious. Lest there be a misunderstanding, please know that I recognize and know that there are many, many people, who have no religious affiliation, who are some of the kindest, most loving and giving people on the planet. I am blessed to know and associate with many of them.
Whether you’re religious or not, as we begin a new month, a new year, and a new decade, I invite everyone reading this article to determine to do everything in your power to let love fill your hearts and be the driving force for placing kindness to others at the top of your daily agenda. Why? Love and kindness beget more love and kindness and our weary world needs all the love and kindness we can give.
Has your life been touched by kindness in action, either giving or receiving? Do you have a story to share? If so, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.
Please note that upon request, I am happy to change names to protect those who want to share but want to remain anonymous.