Silent Gifts

‘What goes around comes around’ is a familiar sound bite for those of us of a certain age. I’m one of those ‘of a certain age’ as are many I love and many that I have served as both PE teacher and coach, Professor and Priest. What a ride I have had, a roller coaster life of disappointments and accomplishments at best. At this place in my life, it is the ways in which I’ve been in that sacred place of ‘mediating’ love and healing that I would wish to be remembered in my last days.

While serving at Baylor University as dept. chair and professor of Health Sciences, I recall a time in which I wrote/published an annotated article that in the ‘rear view mirror of life’ reveals the desperation of a young professional striving to make a small difference in the lives of the students I was devoted to…while not having the insight to know I needed the gift more than my dear ones under my tutelage needed…The Silent Gift Project.

The assignment was simple. We drew names in several of the undergraduate classes I taught ranging from Nutrition to Sex Education to Exercise Physiology for a ‘Secret Silent Gift’. The project was simply in the drawing of names, we committed to send, give, and provide a ‘Silent Gift’ to the name we pulled from the jar of names, once a week, for a month. The gifts ranged from a single flower stem, or note, a pan of brownies or bag of cookies…. whatever students could ‘afford’ at this time of their lives to another left on a doorstep or dormitory desk. The results were far reaching and quite honestly, I hope these ‘charges’ of mine in those days, still practice these acts of anonymous kindness from time to time.

Of course, being the ‘science person in secret clergy clothing’ I measured the ‘results’. What we learned was that there were measurable hormonal and other physiological changes after a month; our ‘state of mind’, our immunity systems, the thickness of our skin, so to speak were enhanced. Some of the benefits of anonymous giving and receiving, made a measureable difference ‘for the good’.

I shared this project idea with Jonathan Graves this past week…and he was ‘all over it’ as only Holy Cross parishioners can imagine. Jonathan, Kaylee, Ethan and I, as your staff would like to invite each of you, to be a part of the Holy Cross Silent Gift Project. Details are forthcoming…stay tuned to Love.             NLJ+

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