If you’re anything like me, there is something so haunting about seeing someone in need and feeling like you have nothing to offer. Often we’ll be stopped at a red light and I’ll see someone with that classic cardboard sign and broken smile. I typically pilfer through my car and try to share a water bottle, some change, or any lunch we might have with us, but sometimes I pass by feeling like the world’s worst ‘good Samaritan’.
You see, it isn’t so much about the giving. I’ve read the articles and seen the news footage. I know that some of these people are so deeply entrenched in addiction. I know that they could pop around the corner and buy booze (or any other momentary comfort), but is it really right to offer nothing?
One time Alana and I were shopping at Target and one of the gentlemen that works there not only has a fancy multicolored faux-hawk, he also is missing one eye. I tried to steer my loud-mouthed three year old in the direction of ‘look at his rainbow hair’, but she wouldn’t have it. Her pressing questions rang like a foghorn all the way back to the gardening aisle, “WHY DOES HE ONLY HAVE ONE EYE! WHERE IS HIS EYE MOMMY!” I simply explained that God just made him that way and pointed out that bob-tailed cats are still cats even though they don’t have full tails and that sometimes we look different but we are all still special. Be kind people—I’m no Einstein and seriously bob-tailed cats—now that is brilliant! Am I right? I’m pretty sure she’s never seen a bob-tailed cat. As I was drowning in my pathetic analogies and trying to just rush through with the ‘receipt is fine in the bag speech’, Alana declared that she was going to find this man an eye and not only an eye, but a GOOD one.
She didn’t take time to pick this man apart and decide if he was worthy. She just noticed he was missing an eye and wanted to do something about it. This selfless love spoke volumes to me. Here I am, practically dodging opportunities to give, when my daughter just wants to bless this man at Target with a new eye! I want to love with that kind of extravagant love. The kind that doesn’t have time to size up someone’s worth.
So I discovered a solution. I made Blessing Bags. I made them so that Alana can see and feel what it’s like to give love away. If our kids see people hurting and then watch us do NOTHING, all that is going to do is teach them that it’s okay. It’s going to show them that people aren’t worth second chances. Does this mean I am going to go into debt over the homeless of Bothell? NO. It just means that I want to show my gratitude and LIVE it. The plan is that Stu and I will both keep bags in our cars so that when we feel those aches and see those cardboard signs, we will be ready and our daughter can share in the experience. So here is how they turned out and I am so excited, like bob-tailed cat excited!
So my challenge as we enter this holiday season is to love a little louder. Let’s stretch ourselves in the giving arena. We have two EYES people, let’s use them! If you don’t live in an area that is saturated with the homeless, here are some other ideas:
pack shoes boxes for Operation Christmas Child: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/pack-a-shoe-box/
pack goodies bags for the humane society
pack cheer-up bags for kids or the elderly who are currently in the hospital
pack shoes boxes for our soldiers : https://operationshoebox.com/
The thing about sharing what we have, is that we end up with something even better—Joy! So let’s remember together…Love knows our names and sometimes a little hope can change the course of someone’s life.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”