Connecting with Community

Friday, May 31, 2013

Waking with purpose

5:54 and I am wide awake so I do the only thing I know to do, at this time of morning. I begin to sing and give thanks that I am gifted one more day of life. Soon I am headed to work and I am thrilled as I am on a mission to get my morning tea. Today is donut day and I will stop and get a chocolate donut. Life is good.
Today my trip to the office is uneventful. I make my first meeting and I am inspired by a young woman that has survived many struggles and in very little time has accomplished much. She is thankful that she has had a personal cheerleader to cheer her on along the way. Her life has experienced change because someone cared and believed in her. 
I go through the day talking to families in need and work on ways to help each one of them. Midafternoon and I am a bit overwhelmed as families are losing their homes, children are losing their mommies and mommies are experiencing violence. I am suddenly slapped with the reality that I cannot help everyone.
It is 6:00 pm and I head to a fiesta at a local school. When I arrive there is not much fiesta happening. I am almost disappointed because I came with hopes of feeding hungry children.  It doesn’t take long before kids start to come out of every corner. Now there is the sweet sound of music, there is laughter as they dance, candy is abundant and the sun is cooled with the splatter of water ripping through the balloons. It has turned in to a full blown fiesta. The fiesta seems to pause and I feel a wonderful tingle all over my body. There is this indescribable peace among us. The children are content and soon head home carrying a bag of food. My heart is pleased.
It is now after 8:00 pm and I decide to head home. In my car I am reminded of a call I received earlier today. The woman on the other end of the line asks if I could help her family. I ask what she is in need of and she tells me she has a gas leak and she is unable to have it repaired due to the lack of funds. She goes on to explain that her daughter had a baby 14 years ago and she did not want her.  So this grandma did what any good grandma would do; she is raising this baby girl as her own.  My new friend is happy to share that she has been married to her sweetheart for 51 years. I am in awe.
 This grandma is humble and she is careful not to ask for too much. Because I notice hesitation I ask if she is in need of food. There is much shame that is expressed through her silence.  Quietly, she replies with “darling I have two eggs and three slices of bread”. My heart hurts as they struggle to feed themselves and this lovely teenage girl.  This home has no hot water and she is not even able to fry her eggs on this gas less stove.
I call home and let my little one know that I have one more stop to make before I head home. I stop once more at this magical red door as I know that there is food behind it. I search the shelves and notice that they are full of food a teenager would love.  I carefully choose food for this teenage girl and it seems like all of it was waiting here just for her. It isn’t long before my box is full of pop tarts, spaghetti, and cereal. I call my new friend and she is pleased that I will make time to stop by tonight.
I find their home and it isn’t long before grandpa comes to the door. As I step into this home I notice it is set up like a home would look like on the 60’s. Everything is simple, tidy and neat. I notice the young girl on the couch and she doesn’t even lift her head when I walk in. I understand the shame so I work quickly to remove it. Grandpa walks out with me to help me unload. Back inside I sit the last of the goods on the table and my new friend says “oh my it’s been so long since I saw this much food”.
My heart hurts and my eyes fill as I am overwhelmed.  It makes me sad and I reach to hug her. She is a woman of honor and so deserving of respect.  I come from a generation where we honor our elderly and we allow them the respect they deserve.  We don’t allow our elderly to feel hunger or shame.
I thank them for allowing me in their home and her sweet eyes glisten with joy. She hugs me without even having to touch me. I bow my head and cannot even bear to look at grandpa as his thankfulness fills this room.  I belong and she assures me of this using no words.
90 Second Truth: Waking up is a gift use it to serve others

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Graduate

 So I took a road trip to Oklahoma City this weekend. Crossing that state line the earth begins to change colors. It is absolutely beautiful; the earth’s surface is covered in a striking shade of green. Trees as far as the eye can see and they blend into the edge of the light blue sky. The roads carefully wind right through the earth’s beauty and curve around the landscape that houses horses and cattle.  I indulge in all His beauty.
It isn’t long before I make it back home, Sunday and I am nicely tucked in my own bed. Morning finds its way and Monday shows its head. Nothing can make me crawl out of bed, well except for my 10 year old love. I rise and ask him what the weather has in store for us. He rattles off what our day will serve us and I suspect he has risen early to catch the early news. He tells me we are scheduled to have a 90 degree day. With the information gathered the only thing I know to do is slip on a pair of open toe shoes. They seem to be the same color as my pedicured toes. My white skirt is also trimmed the color of my toes.
I arrive at my office and my complaint is hunger.  I am trying to watch my carbs so begrudgingly I grab a bottle of water for my breakfast. I sit sulking as I desire a piece of chewy chocolate sitting on my desk. Self-absorbed I hear the phone ring and what comes next is what I would call a God moment.
It is a young man the same age as my 19 year old son. His humbleness is numbing as he gently asks for a white shirt and a pair of slacks. He is to walk across a stage soon, in celebration of his high school diploma. I pray I have allowed him value as I take down his size. I fill out my customary form and it is soon moist as my tears roll off my cheeks. Gentle as he is unsure how to ask.   I pause and ask for nothing more than I have too. We say our good byes and I assure him I will deliver his white shirt and slacks with in a day to his school. Before I hang up I ask him to call me if he ever has another need. He sweetly thanks me, much like my boy would.
I hurt at this simple request and realize that I will probably never meet him face to face. I will probably never have the opportunity to wrap my arms around him and congratulate his success.  I will probably not be in the audience as he crosses that stage and the audience cheers his success. All God has allowed me is a simple trip to the store to clothe a young 19 year old boy. He will undoubtedly be rich with pride as he walks across that stage wearing his graduation attire.  I see it if only in my thoughts.
I pick up the phone and call my Jacob. I hear a “hello” on the other end but I cannot form words. My heart hurts like never before. It doesn’t make sense that my heart would hurt like this on something so simple. I have heard much more that did not affect me in this manner. After all he has only asked for a white shirt and a pair of slacks. I think of my children and I am overwhelmed as my Jacob tries to soothe me.  My heart hurts and I have no direction.
Through broken words he says,  “That’s just not right. We can’t let that happen”. He goes on “the shelf in the closet under my t- shirts, I have 200 dollars, take it and take care of his needs”. My Jacob is now broken and we share tears for this young graduate. Then his words are like music. " We need to start a ministry and take care of students that can’t afford their senior year." I reply with, “Done”.
Today our family began a ministry called “The Graduate”. The Graduate provides attire for high school seniors in need. We serve seniors in Canyon High.  Our mission is to gift Hope through  providing graduation attire for all graduation events such as prom, banquets, baccalaureate and graduation ceremonies.   In hopes of allowing all seniors  an opportunity to experience a memorable senior year.
Sometimes you just have to do the right thing and then ask questions later. It will make your heart feel better.

Isaiah 61
61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[