You never know how what you do affects the lives of others

I recently received a surprising and unsettling phone call from a priest who served in the Episcopal Church in the neighboring community whom I had not heard from in several years.  The phone call was recieived into my voice mail, as my cell phone was turned off.   This priest had a difficult tenure in that parish and I tried in a very limited way to offer love and support.  He and I were in many ways on different sides of the political and religious spectrum, but I always admired Kevin for his loving heart and honesty, qualities I did not always find in “like” thinking priests who others would assume I would be closer to.  You know it really is more meaningful in this knee jerk and polarized world (not to mention fun!) when we enter into relationships with those we do not share a cookie cutter sameness with.  Kevin eventually left that parish and relocated to South America to live.

The message he left for me was simply to thank me for being his friend when he was in a difficult time in his life.  Kevin is now facing the real possibility that he might not have many more days left, he is dying and he wanted to say thank you.   I will be calling him back soon to thank him and tell him how much his call and friendship means to me.   Kevin did not need to call, but it meant so much to me.

As I thought about this rather special and a bit haunting phone call, I wondered how often we do not know how much our simple small acts of love mean to others.  Kevin and I were not really friends that did anything socially.  We didn’t share common beliefs about things.   What we shared was a common love for simply being human, and a commitment to being together and there with and for each other when the chips were down for him.  I have a funny yet strong feeling Kevin would have done the same for me.

So what does this have to do about the work of the iF Foundation?  Well, the people who find it possible to support our work, with small gifts, will never know what this means to those in Haiti and Ghana.  Kevin and I had at least a small relationtional connection as priests serving neighboring churches.  But you who choose to support us, will in all probability never even meet the people your acts of generosity and kindness will change. 

It really is true that “you never know how what you do affects the lives of others”.  I am praying I will say the right things when I connect with Kevin by returning his phone call.  His reaching out and thinking of me, stunned me.  Isn’t it nice when our simple acts of kindness and generosity can make such a large difference?  So reach out to someone today who might need your loving touch.  Notice human need and share yourself and your resources to make a difference.   Your doing so may just be life changing for both of you.

The Rev. Canon James E. Byum

Managing Director, the iF Foundation

One Response to “You never know how what you do affects the lives of others”

  1. Prajakta September 8, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    Dear Nathan and Family: Nathan, I first met you at a pastors’ crcuiit meeting in Fredonia, NY, 2002-03. You were making the final preparations for your new assignment to Ghana. Since 2004 I have been pastoring at Our Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church, Huntington, WV. The ORELC Sunday School has been receiving offerings from our small group to support your mission. Recently, our treasurer told us that he has forwarded a check reflecting our current collection. We post your newsletters for all to read and hold you before God in our prayers. May God continue to bless and sustain you with His grace and mercy. In Christ, George

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