Northampton Press

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Fighting Hunger: This time of year, reflect on what you’ve done with your life

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 by SHARI NOCTOR in Opinion

I read a book that a client gave me while I was on vacation recently. The book is titled “Imagine Heaven” by John Burke. The book’s main theme is to take a hard look at your life and see what you have actually done with it. This is an internal reflection of what really is important to you individually. Is it your family, faith, work, awards and accomplishments, social status, helping others including volunteering? The book asks repeatedly, “If you died today (death can come at any age), what have you actually done with your life?”

No worldly possessions go with you. Once gone, you no longer have the home, money, earthly possessions — all the materialistic things and status symbols people think are important. All the stress and worries you carry also do not go with you.

So what actually have you done with your life? Reflect on this question for a minute. You should be living happily today and every day for what really matters. There are three important items to consider.

• Your relationships with others: family, friends, co-workers, neighbors

• Your good deeds

• How your actions affect someone else

I work extremely hard, putting in a 60-hour week and always working in the best interest of my real estate clients and community involvement. I love people.

I have a wonderful husband, Tom, no kids and a great cat, Abby. I have missed many family events, such as my nieces’ and nephews’ sporting events and parties, spent less time with my in-laws and grandparents before they passed on and have not really helped my husband with the daily routine of maintaining our home and yard. In 2019, I plan to still work very hard for my clients and community, but I also will spend more time with my family and cat, at home and by helping others.

The book also asks, “If you died today, what have you done to feed the hungry, clothe the needy, help your fellow neighbors?”

Please reflect on this. Material things do not go with you.

We are all also guilty of this: Please be mindful of the tone of your voice or actions you take when talking and working with others. What you may say or do (though you didn’t realize anything was wrong) may be interpreted another way and hurt the recipient. That person then keeps thinking of the conversation, fuming the rest of the day for something you did not even know you did. That person, in turn, becomes cranky and also affects others over something that was an unknown mistake or interpretation. And the cycle continues on with the next person.

Actions do speak louder than words. Think before you speak. And please do acts of kindness, which usually have a continuous positive effect on everyone. When you do something nice and unexpected for someone, the recipient appreciates this act of compassion and hopefully will do something nice for someone else. Simple things — like opening a door for someone whose hands are full, bringing a warm meal to an elderly neighbor, helping a caregiver by visiting someone for a couple of hours so the caregiver can leave and get a much-needed break or simply just saying good morning — all show great humanity.

I chair the Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative. All of our volunteers do a fabulous job and enjoy giving back to our community. We need more volunteers to help our Whitehall-Coplay neighbors. One hundred people (children to seniors) attend our free community meals, offered twice a month to share a hot dinner and have friendship with people at their table; the Snack Pack Pals program provides almost 200 students with food for long weekends; and our summer breakfast camp is growing every year. We would like to have more school-age children attend our free camp that runs for 14 weeks from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Mondays through Fridays during the summer break. Can you help us help others by volunteering your time, talent and treasures?

During this wonderful holiday season, as you think about my message and set goals and resolutions for 2019, please reflect on what you have done with your life and what is really important while you are alive and here in this world.

Merry Christmas, and have a blessed, happy and healthy New Year!