I could go on forever posting examples of complaints that I have made about life and possessions. As I look at these complaints today, I am ashamed. I realize the pettiness of it all.
Yesterday, my perspective on material possessions changed. I am a member of a Facebook group where people in the area post things they are giving away for free, or ask for things they need.
Recently there has been an outpouring of posts where people have been pleading for things I take for granted every day. There are people who have no heat in their homes, people who don’t have warm clothing, people whose babies need diapers, people who feel terrible that they can’t afford a Christmas tree or gifts for their kids, and people who are asking for food to eat because their cupboards are bare.
Yesterday as I was looking at some of these posts, I felt very strongly that I needed to help who I could.
I felt a very strong impression that I needed to specifically help a mother of two boys who was on crutches and in desperate need of warm clothing, heat, and food.
I reached out to my church and my neighborhood to see if anyone had clothes to spare. I felt that the need was more urgent than the length of time it would take to find help from others, so I actually went to Goodwill and picked out three shirts and two pairs of pants for each boy. Even as my boys were screaming and yelling and fighting in the store, I felt good inside knowing I was doing something to help this family. While I was shopping, Jad was at home cooking a hot meal for this family just because I asked him to. When I got home with the boys, I gathered some food storage items and the meal, which would feed them for a couple days.
I had also agreed to help another family, one who was in desperate need of two sizes of diapers, and wipes. Before I left the house, I also gathered these items.
I kissed my children and husband goodbye, leaving them to eat dinner, while I did something I had never done before – give to the poor face to face.
I met the young mother at a gas station. I instantly liked her. She told me more about her situation, and was so grateful for the clothes and food. She had tears brimming in her eyes, and it was really humbling to me. A handful of clothes, one bag of random food items, and a meal was precious to her.
I have been working to get more help for her with food, and some members of my neighborhood have been so gracious as to donate clothes to her sons. One thing that impressed me about her is that she didn’t ask for anything for herself, though it was obvious to me that she was also in need of warm clothing. All she had on that cold night was a very thin cotton jacket.
The second interaction was much shorter. I met the family at a drugstore. They were sitting in a very old vehicle. The children’s grandmother got out of the car without a jacket on that cold night. She was kind to me and thanked me for the diapers and wipes. She showed me the kids in the back seat, and said that the son had just had major surgery, and has been sickly since birth. I told them I hoped they could get the other things they needed, we said goodnight, and they went on their way.
Did they have warm beds to sleep in that night? Did they have full bellies? I don’t know, and it made me wish I had the money and resources to help needy families get on their feet.
As I drove home that night, I felt a new desire to help the poor. I knew that I could do more than I had been. I have always been one to help others when they need it. Most of the service I have done in my life, though, has been for people I know. I haven’t ventured out to touch the lives of people I have never met, who have such basic and crucial needs.
Helping others brings me joy, and fills me with love for them and helps me see God’s love for them. To those that are recipients of help, I pray you also feel God’s love, hope for tomorrow, and peace to replace your sorrows.
It takes so much humility to ask for assistance, and I have made a promise to myself to do all I can to bless other people’s lives.
We don’t have much to spare in my family, but I know as we give of ourselves – our time, our love, our extra resources, that we will be blessed with what we need too.
May we all do what we can to bring hope and solace to those who need it most.