Neighboring Practicing

Be A Blessing, Get A Blessing

Over the past year or so, my wife and I have become a bit more attentive to an elderly couple who have been our friends for many years. In the past, we drifted apart, as everyone’s life is busy. Recently their family has been hit by some extremely tough times, and we have been trying to help where we can.

“Help someone else?,” some may say. “Times are tough for ALL of us right now. My heating bill is going to be huge this winter! Who’s going to help ME?” When I start feeling that way, I try to remember there’s always someone worse off than I am. Doing a little good in the world is more needed than ever, precisely because of these current tough times.

Helping others is personally rewarding and is often easier to do than you might imagine. You don’t have to empty your bank account to supply a solution to a need. Sometimes something that would seem a small gesture to you could be an important answer to an immediate problem. It often involves little more than a phone call.

“Hey, we’re heading by the pharmacy. Do you guys need anything to be picked up?”  Or “We’re at the supermarket. Let us know if you need milk or something and we’ll drop it off before we go home.”  As I said, those are only small gestures involving a quick phone call and a stop on the way home. (With the price of gas today, combining trips is always a good idea.)

In our case, with our friends, things have blossomed into a closer friendship and other ways to be of help. During some visits, a few boxes may need to be moved, a dog walked, or the lawn might need mowing. Sometimes what’s needed most is simply an hour of conversation, or of just listening. However the visit goes, we always leave happy to have spent time with such good friends.

Occasionally, we may be asked to transport someone to a doctor’s appointment. This might be a slightly bigger commitment but try dropping them off at their home after helping in this way and feeling ‘down’ at the same time. I dare you. It can’t be done.

Introducing friends in need to other helpful services in your area is also an important thing to do. They may not be aware of how to access the local food bank, use online shopping or Instacart, or even watch those Tik Tok videos their grandkids have been sending them. There are a million little ways you can be of service to someone in your neighborhood.

Times are, admittedly, tough. By becoming more aware of the needs of others you open up yourself to a world of grace and good feelings all around. You’ll definitely be a blessing to others and be blessed yourself.

-G.E. Shuman


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George E. Shuman is a longstanding Vermont novelist, newspaper and magazine columnist, and former high school English language arts teacher. His human-interest columns have appeared twice monthly in Central Vermont’s largest paper for nearly thirty years and in The Sturbridge Times, a Massachusetts-based magazine, for eight. George’s novels, “The Smoke and Mirrors Effect,” “A Corner Café,” and his most recent, “Cemetery Bridge” are available in Kindle and paperback versions at George resides in Barre with his beloved wife. The couple are the parents of five, grandparents of twelve, and great grandparents of two… so far.

3 comments on “Be A Blessing, Get A Blessing

  1. Jonathan Downs

    If every person in this world would do one kind thing each day, imagine what this world would be! Great column, very inspirational!

    • Thats a wonderful thought. Your a true inspiration to many, with kind and thoughtful ideas. I too try to be helpful where ever I can,but your way sounds like something I should also do. Help a neighbor. Where I live Im sure there are many. Love your article.

  2. That’s the best way for all of us to live. Being in a retirement community I’m busy every day waiting on the elderly. I really enjoyed your story.

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