Friday, February 12, 2010
Buddy Can You Spare a Dime?
I selfishly thought we would be able to touch the lives of a few homeless people. Instead 213 homeless people touched mine.
On December 23rd, in order to give a little extra warmth for the cold winter nights to some of the homeless people living under or around the Burnside Bridge in Portland, Oregon, my son, two granddaughters and I played Santa Claus by giving out gaily wrapped gifts of gloves, hats and socks. But it wasn't the homeless whose lives were changed that evening.
Not one of those we gave to, took without a thank you. Not one of them was mean or belligerent and only a select few were drunk or high as we all have been programmed to believe. No matter the case, each and every person was grateful. It's not that they were grateful that someone thought of them at Christmas and gave them a gift. They were grateful that someone thought of them at all and didn't treat them as though they were a leper or invisible.
We didn't turn away and pretend we didn't see them. We sat among them. We laughed with them. We cried with them. We felt their pain. When a hand was outstretched, we held it. When a story was offered we listened. When a tear escaped them, we shed tears with them.
I knew when I went home that night that my life had been changed forever. I didn't know how. I didn't know when, but I did know that I had to do something meaningful to help these men, women and children that, whether or not we want to accept them, are our neighbors.
I knew I was not the only family member whose life had been changed that evening. My seven year old granddaughter who had gone with me on the 'glove box' give away gave me her jar of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters and said "Here grandma. This is supposed to be our Disneyland money, but I want to give it to you. How many gloves and socks do you think we can buy with it?" Out of the mouths of babes. Thus the birth of "Change for Life."
We are asking for you to give to this worthy cause if you feel so moved to do so. We are not asking for $50 or $100. We are asking for pennies. One penny for every mile walked. 1863. Pennies from your change jar so you can be the change and help to change the world. But don't give it to me.
Give it to your nearest homeless shelter or agency that supports help for the homeless and poverty stricken. Give it to your nearest home for unwed mothers or shelter fo teens. Give it to your church and specify it is to help the homeless. It doesn't matter who you give it to. Just give.
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all they all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything - all she had to live on."
So for today, my commitment in many is to write this blog as often as I can. For now it will be on my preparation for this trip. I do hope you will follow it.