A few days ago I wrote Weathering the Flare, and I made an inadvertent omission. Somehow I forgot to mention the instant pick-me-up. One of the worst feelings when you are dealing with the flares your illness metes out is helplessness. When I don't feel useful, it's hard for me to relate to the world, to find my place in it. I know intellectually that I have value beyond my ability to give, but it drains my confidence and self-worth none the less when I cannot do it. A quick, almost effortless move can fix that. I turn on my laptop and navigate to The Hunger Site. In one minute I can click on all the contribution buttons (Hunger, Breast Cancer, Animal Rescue, Rain Forest, Literacy, Child Health) and sponsors will make small donations to each cause. Instantly I feel the satisfaction of having done my piece to save the world that day. The best thing is that my chronic poverty doesn't stop me from doing my part, either. I just have to pay attention for a minute.
Second in line, and requiring a bit more stamina, is to use my telephone to pick up someone else's spirits. I've noticed that fewer people are using their phones for encouragement and contact. The sound of a human voice is infinitely more comfortable than the buzz of your phone, followed by a two-line text message. Granted, you can text or email in the thick of your busy day when a call would be impossible, but many have convinced themselves that a call is never possible. We need to re-learn the art of the quick, "I'm just checking on you" phone call, and use it frequently. I know this approach requires a little more stamina than clicking on the Hunger Site button, but the extra effort brings a proportionate swell in my sense of having touched another human being and lifted their day. I try never to use this on annoying people who are a drag on my day; those individuals need only be dealt with when I have extra energy and the right frame of mind. Instead, I pick as my target someone who isn't expecting the call and won't abuse it.
It is important to me that my effort have tangible rewards. I don't spend a lot of time throwing prayers up for other people, since they always generate uncertainty of being heard or answered. That's just more stress. Instead, I go for the direct hit of sending cash via sponsors or sending good will by way of a phone call, and I can be sure of my result. Good ol' useful me, saving the world on a daily basis.