It was a beautiful summer day in 2007. My girlfriend (now my wife) and I were visiting her son and his wife. They own a small house in a rural town about twenty minutes away. It was to be a short visit, just to drop off a paint sprayer we bought for them. They were in the process of painting their house and this was sort of our way of getting out of helping—by purchasing them a nice paint sprayer (at least that’s the way my selfish brain saw it). I had visions of spending the rest of the afternoon lounging by our pool doing nothing. It was going to be great.
We arrived with the paint sprayer to discover they really didn’t want it, or need it really. Well, OK, I thought, “we tried.” Then my girlfriend, out of nowhere, offered our labor and painting services for the rest of the afternoon! I felt the resentment rise up inside me as I saw my lazy afternoon quickly dissolve into hours of sweat and climbing up and down ladders. I recognized what was happening so I left the room and went outside. I found a quiet place and prayed. I asked for acceptance and the willingness to do the next right thing. Then, it came to me.
Years from now, will I remember the day I sat by the pool and did nothing, or the day I helped my girlfriends son and his wife paint their house? The answer was clear and it felt great! We spent the rest of the afternoon painting their house.
Years from now, we’re more likely to remember a day spent helping someone else.
photo credit: Hiddenloop