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Living Simple: The Happiness Happens Project
About a month ago I wrote an article about nine amazing women (The 9 Nanas) who I had read about online. These women had been doing acts of kindness for the less-fortunate in Memphis, Tennessee for 35 years and their story is the stuff of inspiration and legend. To date they have donated over $900,000 in goods and money, and until recently they had done it anonymously. They have done these remarkable things because they wanted to bring a ray of happiness into the lives of those less-fortunate.
For the past few years they have designated August as “Happiness Happens Month,” and they have called on others to give unselfishly to those who have little. In other words, they are asking others to do random acts of kindness for people who are in need.
I was touched by these women, not only because of their giving spirit, but because they chose to remain anonymous throughout the years. For them, notoriety was not important; for them, the simple act of giving was all the thanks they needed.
WHAT CAN I DO?
I have heard it said over the years that the best way to forget about your own problems is to do something for someone else. For this writer, life is extremely good. I really am lacking in nothing. I have shelter, food, a few creature comforts, and all the love a man could ever ask for. True, I have very little money, but happiness does not have a dollar sign in front of it. In the past I measured happiness by the amount of money I made and the possessions I owned, and my rewards for those efforts were alcoholism and unhappiness. Those days are gone!
So no, I have no money to give to those in need, but that does not mean I cannot give gifts of a different nature.
I can smile at those I see on the street. Is there a value on a friendly smile?
I can help those around me when they need a helping hand. Is there a value on helping others?
I can volunteer at a local community effort like the Food Bank. Is there a value on charitable works?
I can continue to be the voice for those who have no voice. Is there a value on raising awareness?
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
That really is your decision! For me to guide someone else through the process of helping others seems a bit silly. We all have the ability to help; the only thing needed is willingness. I could make a long list of suggested actions but that would be treating you all like you have no brain. There are people around us daily who are in desperate need of kindness.
I doubt it is necessary to point out that these are tough times. The economy is still in the tank, and despite words of encouragement from our government, times will most likely remain tough for quite a few months to come. Jobs have been lost. Homes have been foreclosed. The bill collectors are howling at the door and food and gas prices seem to have no upper limit. Who are we to turn to?
The government? I’m sorry, but that is a fool’s dream! No immediate help will be found on Pennsylvania Avenue, so where else do we find assistance? Who else do we turn to for a smile, a helping hand, a few words of encouragement?
Family for sure, provided your family isn’t dysfunctional and incapable of helping, and we can also turn to each other.
BECOME A COMMUNITY
I fear I’m going to beat this dog to death, but I’m of the belief that communities need to band together during tough times.
I am reminded of stories my parents told me about growing up during the Great Depression. Neighbors helped each other during those dark years. It seemed to be instinctually understood that the neighborhood had to band together in order to survive. Gardens were grown, food was shared, projects were done as a team, each neighbor working in tandem with other neighbors to survive and eventually thrive.
I grew up with those lessons and values instilled in me. The neighborhood of my youth was similar to the one my parents grew up in. Neighbors watched out for each other. If there was a problem for one there was a problem for all. Children knew they were safe when they went out to play because they had their “extended family” watching out for them. If someone was injured then the neighbors took over those chores and provided food for the stricken friend. There was no shirking from community responsibility and in truth no one in our neighborhood even felt a responsibility…it was just something neighbors did for each other.
I see this as the only solution for today’s ills. We need to join together and form safe and helpful areas. We start small, then grow, and grow, until we have re-established some old-fashioned values. The alternative is to continue what we have been doing for years now, to pull up the drawbridge around our own homes and become an island of delusional safety.
YES, THERE ARE PROBLEMS FOR SURE
I have friends on HubPages who have been out of work for two years. Two years! I have friends in my home town who are out of work and scrambling to find money for food. I have friends who wake up each day and go to bed each night worrying about how to provide for their families. I have no doubt that each one of you reading knows similar people with similar stories of struggle.
So don’t you think it is about time we reach out and lend a hand? Don’t you think it is about time we show some friendship to those who dearly need it?
Let August be the time when we start to join together. Do a random act of kindness for someone, and then do another, and another. Smile more, help often, and bring some happiness into the lives of others.
In other words, become more human!
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
To read about the 9 Nanas see the following:
To purchase any of my books on Kindle, go to:
- The 9 Nanas surreptitiously give their organic cakes.
Since everybody appreciates the warmth of a grandma, we surreptitiously give our organic, award-winning scratch baked pound cakes and curd. And they're pure, organic and delightfullike a nana's love.