So, let me start this off by saying, I’m not sitting astride any high horse. Or even a short horse. I’m definitely not balancing precariously on a soap box. But I have some thoughts that could give you that impression, so I feel like I need to get that disclaimer in. I’m thinking out loud, and forming some ideas, and as usual, I get sort of lonely just doing it by myself. Thanks for being here!
So, the other day, my eyes caught a Facebook status:
I have a friend who needs help. Anything that you could give–they need perishable items that the food pantry cannot give, and also money for rent. I am unable to give any more details than that. Thank you.
And then, Frodo crashed down something in the kitchen in his attempt to get at the butter dish, and I got distracted. Like you do. But as I cleaned up the shards of yet another broken thing because of Frodo, I thought about that simple request. I remembered a vow I made to myself a few years ago, after feeling really stressed out that I wasn’t doing enough. You know? You ever have that worry that sort of hangs out around you, never leaving, like a 20 pound weight on your chest? Well, it was happening a lot; I was seeing so many folks so much less fortunate and blessed as I am, seeing people dedicating their whole lives to helping them, people starting fund-raisers, and all sorts of things, and consequently worrying myself crazy that I wasn’t doing enough. My mom’s words haunted me: If you find yourself fortunate, then that’s how you know God expects more from you.
And so, I decided I needed a plan, and it had to be completely unlike any other plan I’d ever made in my life, meaning, I had to actually stick with it. Being one of those people who adores the plan making process, but not so much the carrying out of said plan, I knew it had to be fairly simple and not too painful. So, I had to hold myself back from the idea of moving to Bangladesh , with four grumpy and bewildered Carrs, (and one nervous poodle) to devote myself to helping others, a thing that never would have happened, causing me to feel like a complete failure. No, it had to be something I could do fairly easily.
And after a long a walk, I had it. And it was so simple, it made me giggle. I would give myself one rule, and one rule only : If someone comes across your path who needs help, and you are seeing it, that’s your sign that you are expected to help. That’s it. I didn’t have to go looking for it…I could instead sit like a big old spider in the middle of my web, and wait for things to get stuck in it.
Easy breezy beautiful.
So, upon seeing that status, I read it as if it were being written to me :
Dear Lisa, I have a friend who needs help. Anything that you could give–they need perishable items that the food pantry cannot give, and also money for rent. I am unable to give any more details than that. Thank you. -God/Goddess/Universe/Angels
I went back to my tiny phone, and tried to find that status. Aha! Found it!! And I noticed something: there were many comments from people with several suggestions: Try this church, try this program, contact this person-they may know.. and on and on. All very well-meaning folks, but hear me: why are we always assuming that when folks ask for help, that surely they don’t mean US?
A while back, we were driving on the interstate and a car was pulled over. My youngest said, Mom! We gotta help them! And I found myself saying, Ah don’t worry sweetie. Someone will help. And his words that woke me up like cold water on my face:
Mom? Who is “someone”?
It was an innocent question, and not at all an accusation, but I found myself immediately calling the non-emergency 911 and letting them know the mile-marker where the car was stalled. It took TWO MINUTES. Yes, they probably had a cell phone. But, who knows? I don’t stop for stalled cars when I am traveling with children, but calling? I can definitely do that. I decided in that moment,
I am the someone.
How do I know I’m the someone who is supposed to help? Because I saw it. It landed in my web. I’m fortunate and blessed, meaning I’ve been given more so that I can GIVE more. That’s my sign. If I’m walking past someone on the street who asks me for money? That’s my sign. I don’t have to sit there and try to decide if they are worthy or not. God has filtered that out for me. Do I have cash in my wallet? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Do I have food to give? I remember a time my little daughter and I had her favorite black olive and mushroom pizza in the car, and were uncharacteristically met with a man at the stop sign off the interstate in our little town. His sign read:
Anything would help.
My little sweetheart looked down at her pizza, and at me, then back at her pizza. Mom, Can I see if he likes olives and mushrooms? To see his face light up when she asked him, is something that neither I or SHE will never forget. Kinsey knew she was up to bat. It was her turn to give, and she answered the call in the way children do, without hesitation or doubt.
How do you know if it’s your turn? Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you being presented with an opportunity?
- Do you have what they need?
- Can you leave judgment behind, just for 5 minutes?
And usually, the answer will be: YOU are the someone. Sometimes it might be, call in a someone, but I’ve found that hardly is ever the case. I’ll leave you with this quote from my favorite Momma T:
Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest to you. –Mother Teresa
Love you, Lis xoxoxoxo