“Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” Romans 15:1-2
There are times when I sit down at the computer to read or watch the news and I see stories that are disheartening. It can be tragic, broken, and scary. Wondering what I could and would do sometimes has left me immobilized to action and shying away from the world around me. I'm left with only prayer and that action seems empty in the face of having positive effect on my surroundings.
Recently I came across two things. One is the tapestry called Circle of Friends by Alice Beasley and the verses in Romans. Alice Beasley is a textile artist that uses fabric to tell a story. She says that "I find color, light, shadow, line and value in the pattern of ordinary household fabrics. From these I snip small pieces that I arrange and fuse into a figurative composition". Once it is laid out in a picture story she will "fuse and sew it together to make it complete". The first tells me I don't have to have it all. I don't have to bring total healing or reconciliation to the situation. I just need to bring my color, my light, my shadows, my lines, and my values. My ordinary fabric. What I don't have, someone else will probably be there to bring theirs. If I'm a red, I don't need to be a green, I just bring the red that I am. If a green is needed, they may show up at anytime. This seems to give an opportunity for others to be involved with the task at hand.
The second thing were the verses in Romans which talk of having a personal strength to be used, given, or to serve another in need. A strength that cares, teaches, corrects, and lifts up those who falter. It is a strength not to be hoarded, but to ask "How can I help". I have had opportunities in the past with shoveling someones snowy sidewalk, helping feed the homeless at a shelter, and to weeping with a father who lost his daughter to cancer. Lately it has come out of and through my paintings. To create and express beauty, fond family memories, and hope for something greater with the reds and greens in my hands. I think that everyone does have a strength to bring no matter how small they may think their strength is. Both these things help me see situations and people in a different light.
So I have to ask myself on a regular basis, how can I help? Am I willing to be there for someone? Am I looking for those places where my strength can serve? I know I have a strength and color to give to the one who has faltered. How can I help.