You know….for the last 6 years I have loved and served my neighborhood friends. What a joy it has been! I love my community!!! I am often a ‘go-to’ person for a lot of people. My neighborhood has been my ‘mission’ and way of life. Now, it was time for Louis and me to be their mission.
A month ago, Louis had emergency surgery due to 2 massive kidney stones drop about the same time jeopardizing function of both kidneys. They are too big to pass. Although the doctors created a temporary fix, Louis had 3 additional procedures to go through. One down…two more to go! The kidney stents relieved the emergency, but he is still extremely uncomfortable and still can’t do a lot. When he does, he suffers for it later.
On Friday, I had some outpatient abdominal surgery and have spent the last few days laid up in stretchy pants. Our neighborhood and community friends have been nothing short of amazing. Visits, flowers, food (and ICE CREAM!!!), dishes, carrying out the trash, prayers, phone calls, etc.
At times, this has been difficult for me….more so than Louis, actually. He does a much better job of ‘receiving’ than I do. Louis likes to remind me of Jesus’ words…
Acts 20:35 New International Version (NIV)
35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
Louis tells me, ‘don’t steal someone’s blessing’. That when I don’t accept someone’s help or gift, I could be robbing them of a blessing. So, I pray the Lord pours out his blessings on all who have helped, visited, gave or will give and especially on those who have offered, but I was too prideful to receive! Pour it out, Lord.
Although Louis would probably disagree, I think we both have problems with asking for help, but are more willing to receive it when offered. Why is it so hard for us to ask? For me, I guess this is still an issue of pride getting in the way. A facade that it’s all good. I got it all under control. When in fact, I don’t have it under control at all, and need the help of friends and family.
I need to keep this in mind when I give and help…or offer. Some of my thoughts since I’ve been chillin’…How can I reach through or around other’s pride to reach real areas of need? How can we assist people and still maintain their dignity? How can I show my own vulnerability in a real and humble way? How can I expose my needs and still feel OK about it? What am I really worried about? What keeps me from doing that?
Thanks again to everyone who has played a role in our care! We love and appreciate you greatly!
ps. I’m now off pain meds and about it get behind the wheel of my car! YAY!
Although I am often reminded of Richmond’s homeless population, when it is below freezing, windy and snowing outside…I am REALLY reminded of them….and my heart breaks. According to the July 2010 research data provided by a local organization, Homeward, that works to prevent and end homelessness:
- 73.9% of adults are males, 25.9% are females, and .2% are transgendered. Most homeless persons are single, never married adults (52.6%). 6.4% are married, and 47.4% of people
- experiencing homelessness are or have been in families, including those who are married, as well as those who are separated, widowed, or divorced.
- 10.9% of homeless persons have children living with them.
- A majority of persons report that they are African-American (60.6%), followed by White (31.6%). 4.1% indicated that they are Hispanic.
- The average age for adults is 43.7 years.
- 54.5% have just a high school education or GED. 22.4% attended some college, and 6.9% have a college degree or higher.
- 18.2% are veterans.
There is a lot of great work currently taking place to meet the needs of the homeless in Richmond at an organizational level. But, I was recently inspired by 2 new friends (Mary and Jordan Niermeyer) this fall. They moved in not too far from me 9 months ago, but I just met them a couple of months ago. Each year Mary and Jordan put together ziploc bags for the homeless, but this year, they opted to invite their friends to join them. In lieu of a housewarming party, they asked their friends to bring items that would help them build a bunch of bags to hand out. These bags consist of a piece of fruit, water bottle, crackers, granola bars, personal items, hand warmers, a couple of sweet treats, etc. In addition, we also included a list of resources for them to use. What a selfless, inspirational act!
So…today…it’s really really cold and snowing…and our homeless friends come to mind. A local church, West End Assembly of God (WEAG), recently gave me 50 bags with similar items…chapstick, crackers, soap, etc. But, I’d like to add a few more items to what is already there. I would love and NEED your help! If you or anyone you know would be interested in contributing, bring your items by the house…stuff a few bags then, take some with you! These are the items that we need (#s vary because we have already received some contributions):
- 50 pairs of gloves
- 45 stocking caps
- 35 pairs of socks (both men and women)
- 50 bottles of water
- 45 hand warmers
Thanks to you for giving! And…special shout out to Mary and Jordan for inspiring me! And to WEAG for getting me started!
Maybe this will inspire you as well! Grab your friends, family, children and make up some bags…and the next time you see a homeless person or someone in need, offer them a smile and a bag. In the Holy Bible, Paul reminds us in Acts 20:35b…
…You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus:
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
May you be blessed abundantly as you give! Joy to the World!
If you can supply some of our needs or have questions, please reply below! Thanks!