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Religion Column: More than meets the eye

There is always more going on than what you see. Everyone you meet has a story to tell. It may be a story of tragedy or it may be a story of everyday life difficulties, but everyone has a story. And it is these stories that unite us all together. It is these stories that form the connection between our hearts and our humanity. Our stories shape us, mold us, and to a large degree, play a role in the direction our life will take. And there is always, always more to these stories than what we see on the surface.

Chanel Bingham

Chanel Bingham

As we stand in the checkout line of the grocery store, we do not see the battle waging in the life of the person in front of us. We do not see the burden of the man who just lost his job and is left wondering how he will support his family. We do not see the devastation in the eyes of a woman who just lost her husband to cancer. We do not see the burden a mom is carrying in having to care for her special needs child day in and day out. No, their smiling faces will never betray the pain in their hearts. So it is up to us to recognize the story behind the smile.

You see, true kindness requires us to pay attention. We must be aware and present in order to see God at work. Every day God wants to use us right where we are to minister to people right in front of us. Any act of kindness or love is a mere extension of paying attention and accepting God’s invitation for us to join him in his work.

I believe loving others is one of the greatest things we will ever do in this life, and I believe that our every action matters. We are at a time in our society where now, more than ever, we need to be generous with our lives and with our love. It is my hope that this column will give us that opportunity. I hope this column will give us the opportunity to become a part of each other’s story for the better. I hope it will refresh the part of our humanity that looks beyond ourselves in order to realize that there is more to see than what meets the eye. I also hope this column will help us all to embrace our place in our homes, churches, schools, organizations, and community and use our God-given talents and gifts to make a difference in the lives of others.

In the coming months, I will share with you stories of how faith helped in overcoming tragedy from those right here in our community. I will highlight various churches and their ministries, in hopes of sharing with you opportunities of service and worship. I will also feature articles about religious values such as kindness, hope and love and introduce you to organizations who are living out those values.

This column is about finding a way for us all to make a difference. As we begin to pay attention to those around us, we will see those opportunities for kindness, service and love. As we begin to pay attention, we will find the opportunity for connection with one another. I invite you to join me on this journey, as we strive to build a better community and a better world.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.”- Mother Teresa

Chanel Bingham is a freelance writer, blogger and public speaker. She resides in Thorsby with her husband and four children. You can visit Chanel at www.thepolishedcanvas.com or on Facebook at The Polished Canvas. Look for her next column in a future edition of The Clanton Advertiser.