Many years ago, when my oldest daughter Rachael was just a little girl, she had to have her tonsils removed. They had gotten infected, and the doctor told us that it would be best to remove them. Since it was a routine surgery, we were not too alarmed. It seemed to be the right and safe thing to do for her well-being.
On the appointed day, the physician performed the surgery. It only lasted a few minutes, and everything went as expected. The doctor told us to give her a drink of water every couple of hours for the few days to keep her throat moist so that it would not form scabs. He said that it would be a little bit painful for her, but it was important for her to drink water so she would heal properly.
Everything went great throughout the day, but nighttime was different story. I would pick her up and take her to the bathroom to sit on the “potty” to try to wake her up a little bit so she could drink her water. Naturally, she was groggy because it was the middle of the night and she was in a lot of pain for a small child.
On one particular trip to the bathroom, she opened her eyes and looked up at me so pitifully. It was killing me because I could tell she was in a lot of pain. She looked up at me with her big eyes and said in a weak, trembling voice, “Daddy, can you help me?” I immediately leaned over and hugged her and said, “Yes, sweetheart, I will do anything for you! What do you want me to do?” She said, “Drink the water!” She caught me so off guard that I laughed right in her face! I didn’t mean to, but it was just so funny. She wanted me to drink the water because it hurt her throat so badly. That story happened over 45 years ago, and I am still laughing about it. I still think it is one of the funniest things anyone has ever said to me! And the amazing thing is I really wanted to drink the water for her! I wanted to offer my help in a way I could have never imagined!
What Rachael was asking me to do was simply to help her. And, although I was looking for ways to help her, that particular way had not occurred to me. Naturally, I could not drink the water for her, but believe me, I sure wanted to! If it could have helped her life go a little better, I would have been happy to do so! And you know, the more I think about it, I believe we should be available to “drink the water” for a lot of people. Let me explain further.
Rather than simply doing obvious things for people, maybe we should go out of our way to do something extra ordinary that no one else would think to do. For instance, rather than just helping someone carry their groceries into their house, why not buy some groceries for them instead? Or why not pay for the coffee for the person behind you in the drive through line, someone you do not even know! The next time you go to fill up your car with gas, what would be wrong with paying for someone else’s gas? I did that one day and you would have thought the person won the lottery they were so happy!
I have discovered that there is a huge payoff in doing something unusual or unexpected for other people. It can cause someone to have a “life-changing moment.” But you have to be willing to “drink the water!” Stated differently, you have to be willing to do something out of the ordinary!
I know all of these are simple examples, but I think you get the point. It is learning to look for ways to help that are above and beyond what normally might be thought to do.
Let me share one more quick story that happened to me one Christmas.
When I was in seminary graduate school, a new commentary was released that covered everything in the New Testament. When I saw it, I thought of buying one for a friend of mine who was a Bible teacher. The only problem was, I was broke! It was getting close to Christmas and I was barely making ends meet. The book cost almost $20 and I thought, “If I buy this book, I will not be able to eat for a couple of days.” Nevertheless, I knew how much my friend would like the book, so I bought it for him. I wrapped it up and mailed it to him with a note letting him know how much I appreciated him and our friendship. That is what I am talking about…looking for something to do for another person that maybe catches them off guard or surprises them. The amazing thing is what happened next!
A couple of weeks later I got a thank you note that said, “This book is fabulous! It is helping me so much. I cannot believe that you would do such a nice thing for me!” And, then he signed his name with a P.S. that read, “Enclosed is a little something for you and your family for Christmas.” I looked inside the envelope and there was a check for $2,000! I almost fainted. When I shared that story with my friends, everyone went out and bought a book to send to one of their friends back home. (I can see you smiling right now.) The truth is that it was a great experience, and it happened because I was willing to “drink the water” for someone else.
I hope that you will look for something special or unusual and different this week that you can do to be an encouragement to another person. It will be something that will make your heart glad and bless others, as well. These are the kinds of things that create extraordinary situations and make your life worth living! At least I think so!
Tip: Just drink the water!
Reprinted with permission from the "Tip of the Week".
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