Sometimes in our topsy-turvy world of hard work, good times, raising a family and striving to achieve our wants and needs and dreams we sometimes have a tendency to ignore those among us who are facing hardships along the hectic path of everyday life. As we all strive for success, happiness, wealth and to achieve our goals we need to pause once in a while to try and understand the down sides such as poverty, mental illness, depression, loneliness, and on and on.
Along the way in my far from perfect lifestyle I have been very fortunate and blessed to have rubbed shoulders and worked with so many special and caring individuals and organizations who have unselfishly reached out in so many wonderful ways to assist those in need. A story came my way this week that speaks so much to this vital subject of caring and understanding, and as I pass this message on to you, it is also a sincere thank you to so many of you who have and always will extend that so much appreciated heart and hand compassion towards others.
A quick but very special breakfast
A mother of three, ages three, 12 and 14 had recently completed her college degree. The last class that she had to take was Sociology and the teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that she wished that every human being had been graced with.
Her last project of the term was very simply called ‘Smile’, and each member of the class was asked to go out and smile at three people and then document their reactions. The lady had always been an extremely friendly person who said hello and smiled at everyone, so of course she thought that this new assignment would be a piece of cake, literally.
Soon after the class was assigned the project she and her husband and youngest son went out for breakfast on a brisk March morning to their favourite fast food restaurant. It was just their way of sharing some valuable special play and treat time with their son. They were standing in line waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around them began to back away, even her husband. She however did not move an inch, as an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of her as she very slowly turned to see why everyone had moved.
As the lady turned around she sensed an ‘unclean body’ smell, and there standing behind her were two poor homeless men. As she looked down on the short gentleman closest to her he was ‘smiling’ and she couldn’t help but notice that his beautiful blue eyes were full of God’s light as he searched for acceptance. He quietly whispered ‘good day’ as he counted the few coins he had been clutching. Meanwhile the second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend, and this very caring lady realized that he was mentally challenged and that the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation.
She fought to hold back her tears as she stood there with them, then the young lady at the counter asked them what they wanted. ‘Coffee is all Miss’ because that was all they could afford, and if they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they would have to buy something, and this little man just wanted to be warm. Suddenly this kindly mother of three felt a compulsion that was so great she almost reached out and embraced that little man with the gentle blue eyes. It was then that she noticed that all eyes in that restaurant were set on her, judging her every action.
With a big smile she asked the young lady behind the counter to give her two more breakfast meals on a separate tray, then she briskly walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. Placing the tray on the table she laid her hand upon the blue-eyed gentleman’s cold hand and he slowly looked up at her with tears in his eyes and said, “Thank you.” She leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, “I did not do this just for you…. God is here working through me to give you both hope.” She also started to cry as she walked away to join her husband and son, and when she sat down her husband smiled at her and lovingly expressed, ‘That is why God gave you to me honey, to give me hope!” They held hands for a moment and at that time they knew that only because of the grace that they had been given they were able to give in return. They were not churchgoers, but they were believers, and that day had shown them the pure light of God’s sweet and unending love for everyone.
When she returned to college on the last evening of class she asked if she could share the project that she had just turned in. She began to read her story and that is when she knew that we as human beings and being part of God share this need to heal people and be healed ourselves. In her own tiny way she had touched the people at the restaurant, her son, her instructor and every soul that shared the classroom on her last evening as a college student. She graduated with one of the biggest lessons she would ever learn…. unconditional acceptance, love and compassion for others. Please head back to school safely, and have a great week, all of you.