I know that more than once I have babysat for a friend to allow them to spend a few hours with a spouse and reconnect.
I have helped a few different friends clean, reorganize or rearrange an area of their home.
I have created a CD of beautiful images with Bible verses on them for my students.
I have purchased countless meals for those students in these years I've been volunteering.
I have shoveled a walk or two.
I have taken meals to new families.
I have helped create newsletters for things at church.
And those are just the material and tangible things I can think of off the top of my head. That doesn't include praying for others. That doesn't include spending my money on extra gas every week to drive up to whitewater to meet with students. That doesn't include spending money on conferences or scholarships. That doesn't include a hug to someone who is hurting, or even just doing any less than spectacular.
Again, if you can do this, you have hope. If you can allow yourself to refill your gas tank when what you really want is to get cable back so you can sit on your couch and watch useless, brain-numbing television all night every single night, you have hope. If you can cook a meal for a new family and manage to hold it together and not break down weeping as you hold that brand new bundle of promise, you have hope. If you can help convert the sanctuary into a reception hall without screaming or throwing things in a fit of frustration, you have hope. I'm not certain if I'd said it before, but it bears repeating if I have,
If you can see past your own nose,
and you choose to look out rather than in,
you have hope.