A few Monday evenings ago, my son and I went to look at a house. A house, which from what the realtor had sent to me, I was completely in love with. Picture an over sized townhouse, straight from New York – 3 bedrooms, a master suite with sitting area, even a water fountain on the back patio (which is a bonus background noise for those evenings out doors that I love to have). The place had everything I wanted minus the deck and fireplace – but I was so thrilled with every other detail that I was willing to overlook my other requests.
What I am not willing to compromise on is safety. As we drove through the neighborhood, I did not get that “cozy welcome home” feeling if you know what I am referring to. In fact, I did not even make it out of the car. House number 4,273 officially eliminated … time 6:13pm ….
As we were sitting at the traffic light to the highway, there was a homeless man holding a sign asking for help in any way, and giving appreciation in advance. I asked him if he would like the water and snacks we had in the car – he graciously accepted and thanked us.
Wait for it … wait for it …
“Momma ... why is that man holding a sign? What’s it say? Well, what’s wrong with him? What do you mean he doesn’t have a home? Are we homeless? Well we don’t have a home either … And why did you give him my snacks? …”
And there it is – the inquisitiveness of a child. Answering his questions was not an easy task. How do you explain to a four year old that we get to drive to an abode of warmth and salvation? And inside its quarters we are able to have food, water, and the comforts of a home? Maybe not “our home” but a place we can call home for now … And yet there are others, such as this man, whose lack of a home resorts them to the streets, asking for help from strangers, and not knowing where their next meal or night of warmth will come from. I tried explaining the best way that I could of how some people have misgivings in life; misfortune. And those of us who are blessed with more, in turn, must give back in order to help them – we do not know their circumstance, and as empathetic human beings, we have an compulsion to help where we can – in the capacity we can – of our fellow man. And that of course brought on more questions …
However, this piece is not meant to express my views on the part we should play in the helping of others; this piece is not intended for any other purpose besides getting you to think. Think of your blessings. Think of your abundance. Think of your home, your family, and the love and laughter that should be in place. Think of when the last time it was that you needed help, and how you were received. Think of when the last time you yourself offered a helping hand, a saving grace. Think of where you are going; and those on your journey with you – do you face hardships, yet keep your faith? Do you cherish the moments? Do you give thanks well in advance of what you receive?
An anonymous quote says: “To cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always.”
That man on the side of the road gave thanks well in advance of anything he received; but it is I that thank him, for the impression he left on my son, as well as on me. He played an intricate role in keeping the balance in our cycle to always be giving more than we receive – not out of pity, but out of gratitude. Cure, relieve, comfort – I have those luxuries, and choose to pay it forward in hopes to make a difference, and provide the same feeling of relief that I have had when someone takes my hand when I desperately need it the most.
I still face hardships that force me to question; but I am quickly reassured that the presence of salvation surrounds me. I trust that sometimes we must go through hardships in order to get to the next chapter in our lives; and I trust there is a lesson, a reason, and purpose as to "why". Remember your blessings, the true gifts in life; your lessons to be had, the purposes to be revealed, and the reasons to be determined; remember and give appreciation well before they are delivered to you. Life may feel like sometimes we are not protected from the elements, sheltered from the storm by nothing besides a highway overpass; but I am certain that storms end, rebuilding begins, and there will always be a hand along the way to help ... and for that I give thanks well in advance.