Friday, January 3, 2014

On "High Alert"

Back in the early (yellow belt) days of my Judo training
Yesterday in my blog post I listed several New Year's resolutions redirections I had made as we crossed over into 2014.  Today I want go into the background behind the #3 redirection - Always be on "high alert."

Perhaps the first thought that would come to your mind is to be aware of your surroundings at all times, and alert to potential danger.

Later in my green belt days
That is certainly good wisdom for all of us, especially in this day and age where society has degraded to the point that hateful thugs are ruthlessly playing the "Knockout Game" on the streets of our communities.

I am certainly no more immune to danger than the next person, however I can only hope that my years of Judo and Jujitsu training have taught me some instinctual responses to various forms of attack.  

I love the sport and would still be on the mat were it not for some injuries and surgeries that have had me sidelined for the last two years.  At the time I began my hiatus, I had progressed to the brown belt level and was in the best shape of my life.

My brown belt, the last one I achieved
But no, my #3 new year's redirection - to always be on "high alert" does not refer in any way to self defense.

It simply relates to being sensitive and in tune to those around you.

I had an experience over the Christmas holiday that I want to share with you relative to this concept.

Our church has a great interest in community outreach.  Each Christmas the church purchases 2500 gift cards in $10 amounts from local grocery stores, Wal-mart, and gas stations.  Yes, if you've done the math, that's $25,000 from the outreach fund.  I wasn't kidding about this church caring about the community.

Anyway, each family in the church that wants to participate is given a packet of three envelopes, each containing a letter of hope, one gift card, and the church address.  The object is to be sensitive and distribute each of the envelopes to a person in need.  That is, to be on "high alert" for that gentle nudge telling you that this person needs a little hope and love.  (They are not to be given to relatives or friends.)

Our first envelope was handed to a waitress at a local restaurant.  We have no clue what was her response, as we simply gave it to her as we left.

The second letter I gave to a store clerk at our mall.  I sensed she had been crying prior to waiting on me, and when I handed her the blank envelope with a kind word she burst into sobs and expressed her thanks over and over, without even knowing what she had been given.

The final envelope was given to a lonely clerk, working in a Turkey Hill by herself on Christmas night.

The experience of being on "high alert" throughout the week or two before Christmas, knowing I was carrying around three blessings in my purse and trying to sense who around me needed one, was a wonderful learning experience, and I want to daily continue to look and find ways to bless others.  Maybe I won't have gift cards in my purse (although I might), but I certainly can find an endless supply of gentle smiles, listening ears, and kind words for those who need them.

Yes, I definitely want to be on "high alert," whether there's danger, or not.


  1. A very moving thing to do during the season.

  2. Jill this is beautiful. Where do you go to church? I love this idea! :-)

  3. Jill this is beautiful. Where do you go to church? I love this idea! :-)