life is beautiful

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Will You Be A Helper?

We haven't been out on the town, but Wednesday's project is in our near future (hopefully tomorrow).  Let me just tell you, this project truly touched my heart in unexpected ways.
Image from menmedia.co.uk
Living near one of our nation's major cities allows me to see many homeless people, but somehow that frequent contact has started to harden me to their plight.  I certainly feel compassion for them, but being face to face with their sheer numbers has shown me the hard reality:  I am unable as an individual to help everyone.... and honestly I've stopped helping at all.
I smile kindly but keep walking. 
I avoid eye contact at the interstate exit and will the red light to change faster.
While reflecting on this project, I've recalled a very special memory of my grandmother.  As we drove out of a shopping center in central Florida one day in the mid-80's, we passed a homeless man with his cardboard sign, and I watched in amazement as tears began to roll down my tenderhearted Mima's face.  She quickly made a left turn back into the shopping center and marched into the grocery store, quietly bought a loaf of bread and packages of lunch meat and cheese, and when we drove out of the shopping center the second time, she rolled down her window and handed them to the man.  I know she said something to him, but I don't remember her words.  What I do remember is the man's expression.  Even to my child's mind he looked encouraged and softened - even relieved - to receive a kind word and a meal.
PLEASE, please go here and read Life Rearranged's post about this project.  Her words haunt me and spur me on to compassion in action.  Can I help everyone?  No, of course not.  But can I help someone? Yes.  Yes, I can. By giving them a little McD's gift card to help with a meal? Yes.
Is my greater desire to help them with something of eternal value? Yes.
Might the kindness of meeting a bit of their physical need lead to a conversation where I can share how God has changed my own life? Yes!  Might the kindness of meeting a bit of their physical need simply soften their hearts and get them ready for what God wants to do for them eternally? Yes.
This is a very timely project for me.  At first I thought I couldn't do it, because I have such little ones.... because I don't have a lot of extra spending $ right now.... because I'm sure the people standing around in my town are just too lazy to do anything else but beg.  -gasp- Yes, the thought really went through my mind! :(  But those are excuses, and while I certainly wouldn't endanger my precious little people there are plenty of ways I can show kindness in front of them to a homeless person while staying safe, and a $7 giftcard is not such a hardship, and as for my last objection, well, these words ring loud in my ears.

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