Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Be Love

There are nine days left until Christmas. Our secret hiding space is stacked full of gifts, my pantry is brimming with treats to be made, and my December budget is quickly dwindling. I am blessed beyond measure, and sometimes it just doesn't seem fair.
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As I drive to the grocery store I see a gentleman walking down the barren sidewalks in tattered clothing, braving the 1 degree temperature and whipping winds, clutching his two small grocery bags close to his body. I tell myself he only has a small distance to go to get to his warm house. I can't bare to think of any other possibilities.

I keep this man in my mind as I enter the grocery store. As I hand in my saved receipt points and receive my $40 grocery gift card it feels like a sock in the gut. I can afford my groceries and yet here I am being handed "free" money for more. It just doesn't seem fair. It almost feels like a test. And I want to pass.

My church is having a food drive this weekend and I was planning on going through my pantry and pulling items as usual. But is that enough? Is giving away my unwanteds really giving? Should that even count? Probably not.

I would use the $40 gift card to buy food for the food pantry, I decided, and immediately it was like a weight was lifted. But as I cruised around the store adding items to my cart I quickly realized how little $40 is. It just wasn't enough. The items they needed the most, baby formula and food, canned fruits and vegetables, soups, and toiletries, were adding up fast. My total was well over the $40 but I didn't care. This is the least I can do. LITERALLY.
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A couple of weeks ago Todd and I packed up the boys and headed out to Walmart to ring the bell for the Salvation Army's red kettle drive. It was the coldest night we had seen thus far, and I worried about how my boys would fair in the weather. We bundled up well and the boys did just fine jumping around and ringing the bells. Every few minutes I would ask the boys if they were cold and my mind would flash to all the parents who worry about how to keep their children warm on a daily basis.

Families just like ours struggling with the decision of whether to pay for food or heat. And what? What can I do to make any difference?
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Here I sit, in my warm, safe house thinking about all those who are suffering. Those who are out in these unbearable temperatures. No food. No shelter. Parents who are worried about how to feed their children or how to keep them warm. And I think of all of those who are alone in this world. Sad and depressed. No one to comfort and love them during this cold holiday season.

It is overwhelming how sad and scary this world is for some people. And sometimes I just feel so helpless in it all. What can I do? Surely donating a few items to a food drive isn't going to solve world hunger. I guess it comes down to prayer. Doesn't it always? I pray. I pray for God to take care of all those who can't take care of themselves. I pray for God to show me ways I can help.

It's Christmastime. And more than anything else, Christmas is about love. God's love for us and our love for each other. If we could just Be Love I think that would make such a difference.

It reminds me of a video I saw on a few blogs a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure you have seen it too, but it is worth watching again.


(Scroll down to the bottom to pause my music before you play the video. Thanks!)

38 comments:

CC said...

Amen sister. That's where my Christmas is going this year.

Allison said...

How great that your boys are learning the true gift of giving to others by ringing the bells for Salvation Army!

Jaysi said...

I love this post! I could not agree more! Truly! I feel like giving my kids memories is so much more important that giving them some toys!

Bug-N-Bee said...

Feeling the same way here. Wishing it was possible to do so much for so many. Feeling like it's never enough no matter how much one does. You always miss someone.

Courtney said...

I am in histeria right now. This post touched me in so many ways. I can not thank you enough or tell you how much i needed this post. We have been so worried about if the kids have enough presents under the tree that we have forgotten this year about those who have nothing. Thank you so much for that reminder!

Lisa said...

Beautifully written, and unfortunatly so very true. You have such a good heart though, Kathryn!

Riahli said...

Oh you really got me teary, I feel the same way. Yet I don't feel that I am doing enough. I have a feeling I will be pondering for the rest of the day what more I can do to best help those in need.

I've admittedly been feeling a bit sad about our own situation this year, with an extremely tight budget and little to spend, actually none, I admit we broke down and put stuff for the boys on credit this year. But what I am not keeping in mind is that even though things are the way they are, we have so much more then so many. We really do have so much to be thankful for already.

I really liked the video, hadn't seen it before, lots of wise bits of advice packed in there.

It's good to keep getting reminders of what Christmas is truly all about.

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

A lovely post. Even in facing uncertainty with employment, we still treasure how lucky we are and are well aware of others in worse situations. I think as a mom, the ones that affect me the most are parents who are barely able or not able to do for their kids. So we'll be donating toys, diapers, wipes, etc. for them. To make it a little easier. We all need to reach out- every little bit helps.

Dawn said...

You have such a beautiful heart. We all need a reminder like this once in awhile. I've see that video before, but you're right..it's worth watching again.

Mom24 said...

It is so hard right now. My husband's company is letting people go left and right. I honestly don't know what will happen to us if he would lose his job. It's very, very scary. They just fired a 42 year employee--for no reason, except money. I feel so paralyzed by fear. BUT, and it's a big but, for right now we are all right. He still has his job, we are all (mostly) healthy, etc. It's so hard to know that people are truly hurting right now. Deeply, seriously.

Tammy said...

What a wonderful post. I loved how you and your family rang the bells and did it in the coldest of temperatures. The video was very neat and had a great message. It puts all that other stuff into perspective. Thanks for sharing the real meaning of Christmas.

maggie's mind said...

Beautiful post. My heart aches, too, and then I feel terrible that I don't do more. You are teaching your kids to do something, and I think that is awesome. I hadn't seen the video, but it also was an eye opening reminder.

coastrat said...

A most perceptive post, Kat. For the past 30 years, I have been involved with several others, like myself, in reaching out to those who are disadvantaged. One of the things we do annually is to have a fall drive, collecting used clothing, toys, reconditioned appliances, bedding, hundreds of beautiful, hand-made quilts, and many other items. Our area of concentration is north central Mississippi in the delta area, one of the most poverty gripped areas in the United States. We have established area coordinators in those areas who distribute the things we collect and transport to them. The delivery trip takes place over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, from southern Wisconsin to Mississippi. Most of us also do mission work in our own communities, in many ways. We will continue to assist those disadvantaged families in the Miss. delta as long as they need us. Most of us work full-time and have families and other obligations, too, but we CHOOSE to place a priority in our lives to do these things, basically to 'witness' during each and every day as we can.

Bless you for your beautiful attitude, and for helping remind all of us of those less fortunate than ourselves, who need a helping hand and the love of others.

Tonya said...

I've had these same thoughts but it was when the kids were collecting toys and things to send to children for Christmas. They each wanted to send a shoe box worth of stuff and how could I say no to a shoe box worth so little. Great post.

Robyn said...

So true, I hadn't seen the video, so I'm glad you shared.

Haley-O said...

Beautiful, Kat! It is SO important that all of us recognize those less fortunate and help when we can.

And, you made me realize that next year, I'm going ton need a secret hiding place for Monkey's gift. This year, we practically bought her presents in front of her! ;)

Elaine A. said...

That video is so cool. And so are all the charitable things you are doing. That really IS the true meaning of Christmas... giving...

Karen Deborah said...

I'm glad you posted this, I did too. wouldn't it be great if we all really acted on it?

just jamie said...

LOVE it! Fills me with sadness too. But I LOVE your spirit, and message.

csdw.org

check it out...

Chris said...

Kat, that was fantastic!
Sometimes we try to make it so much more complicated, but Christmas (and true Christianity) really just comes down to love, doesn't it?
Thanks for the beautiful reminder.

Kristin said...

I hear ya! Just yesterday I had some of these same thoughts. It's so easy to take for granted things like, food, clothing, warm home, money for groceries, etc. We have so much to be thankful for and not enough to give.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Great post! There is so much need, especially now. But I'm always amazed at how GOOD giving feels! It's a sign that we're made to do it!

Tam said...

LIKE your post LOTS!

Megan said...

I agree 100%. It was hardest for me emotionally to see the homeless and less fortunate when I lived in DC. The homeless were everywhere. I became friends with a few, and they were so nice.

Roxy Wishum said...

Amen and amen! You are living out "do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind".

April said...

Unfortunately I can't view the video but your post was so eloquent and so heartfelt it brought tears to me eyes!And it makes me feel appreciative of what I DO have, instead of just focusing on what I DON'T have. THank you!

Stephanie said...

I got tears reading this. I never feel that what I do is enough. And I hope that I am always reminded not to take for granted all the blessings in my life.

AFF said...

You know I try to keep Christmas simple and more about Christ. I raised that money via the revenue for Food for the Poor & I thought even doubling it wasn't enough. So, I quadrupled it. And, then because some anon benefactors are taking every donation and doubling it, my little amount of money reached enough to feed a village for a month. How much more can you take away a tear from Christ's eye than helping the ones who need our love the most?

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I love that you had your kids ringing bells with you! I didn't bring mine (the booth where I ring is pretty tiny), but they know the rule: see the red bucket? empty your pocket. And I hear you--it feels like we're rewarded for having more. It's what you do with the "rewards" that counts.

My resolution is to cultivate more of a spirit of generosity.

lime said...

the good thing is you don't ignore that voice which tells you to do something practical. you also wanted to give GOOD gifts, not just empty your pantry of things you won't use. that you involve the boys will help teach them compassion matched with action. well done.

Krystyn said...

Thanks for the video.

We always want to do more and continue to do it every year.

I think it's great that you are teaching your sons, too!

Kelly said...

I feel the same as you and I feel like the little we do here and there isn't enough. If Everybody did a little, it would make a BIG difference.

Tracey said...

Doing what you can IS enough. Being aware that the problem is bigger than each individual is key. If EVERYONE realized this, and cared as you do, then there wouldn't BE a problem.

Fire Hunt said...

I love this post! I could agree more will said.

Kristen said...

Christmas is such a ying and yang time of year. The blessing that we have been given, and the obvious slap in the face of what others do not have.

Gut wrenching post friend. Thanks for being a voice to remind all that this time of year is about giving. To all people!

Beautifully written!

painted maypole said...

my hubby showed me that video last week.

it really is amazing what we could do if we just banded together and spent our money on the same thing, on solving ONE problem. We always make charitable giving part of our Xmas, but I think if we could just organize so that everyone gave to one thing... like the water issue, we could make a REAL impact, instead of lots of little drips in the bucket. but how to organize?

Jo said...

Great post; what a beautiful video. I had not seen it before!

Thanks for sharing.

Jo

DysFUNctional Mom said...

You are awesome. Wonderful post.

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson