I don’t have the kind of mind that holds random facts and statistics. My brain isn’t made up that way.
Instead, I have a mind that holds stories. I don’t care about a football game, but tell me about a ragtag team of mountain kids clawing their way to State, and I’m hooked.
Yes, stories I remember, and lately, it seems as if I’m addicted to stories of extreme faith and colossal-sized good. I happily eat up these accounts like that last spoonful of crunchy peanut butter hiding at the bottom of the jar.
But it isn’t just the big stories that get me. I’m a sucker for the everyday stories of people doing more than the required amount without much notice from anyone around them.
Oh, but you notice what these low profile, do-gooders are up to, don’t you? Of course you do. I do too, and I hope to learn from them.
Who am I learning from this week?
This week I’m learning from someone who doesn’t want to be seen. Someone who buys pizza and pop for seemingly unappreciative teens, but what this someone doesn’t know is those sulky, little souls see his quiet, giving ways, and so do I.
What about you? Can you share a story of a person in your life doing unseen good?
Of them all? Really? Of all of them?
Do you ever question your motives? Question why you say something, why you do something? Question who you are verses how you want to be perceived?
Here's the problem: This is how I want to be seen-
So, so shiny!
Then there is the real me-
Um, perhaps a little less shiny.
I want to be GIVING, but you know what else I want? Oh, take a seat people because this will take a few minutes.
I want a table right next to this desk so I don’t have to look at a random pile of papers scattered all over the floor, and I want a haircut, and I’m talking a real haircut, not a I-happen-to-be-at-a-major-discount-store-and-there-isn’t-a-line-so-I will-get-my-hair-cut hair cut. Oh, and yes, I want those sassy Skylair boots listed on p. 8 of the new Athleta catalogue with “cork infused rubber wedge outsole for comfort, leather insole, and partial side zip for easy on/off” but don’t even think about looking up the price of those babies because I’m pretty sure the cost is equivalent to what it would take to feed a small village for weeks. And the sad part? I could continue on for pages about my wants.
I feel fake.
Caught between who I am (gimme, gimme, gimme), and who I want to be (take it all!) hoping this whole GRACIOUS GIVING adventure isn’t for my glory.
What about you? Sum it up. What do people see when they look at you? How do you want to be perceived? Are you working to become something different?
Have you been following the Compassion Bloggers as they visit Guatemala? Have you read their posts of challenge and hope? Have you viewed their pictures of sherbet colored buildings and brown haired children?
Our family has supported a child through Compassion for years. Sadly, here’s what that support looks like:
Oh, the Compassion letter and statement.
Toss it in the bill basket.
Eventually open it.
Write a check.
Attach a stamp.
Mail it off.
I wish I could say I stuff outgoing envelopes for our young, Kenyan girl with colorful art, photos of our family, or smiley face stickers, but the truth is I stuff our envelopes with nothing more than a quickly scrawled out check. Our family’s entire act of sponsoring a child isn’t filled with very much thought, and it’s definitely not filled with compassion.
Now let’s take a peek at another sponsored child-
At my church, the children in Kids Church support a boy through Compassion. His name is Bekeri, and he is from Ethiopia.
Today I watched as a wicker, offering basket filled, and loose change trickled in from the fingers of tiny hands. I looked on as little ones dug into their pockets and fancy, dress-up purses. I observed kids happily placing their coins on top of the coins of others.
This whole act of giving was so sweet, so simple, and so sincere.
On the way out the door, I pulled Bekeri’s profile off the wall to take home and read. On the way home, I attempted to make conversation with my daughter about this young boy.
Me: Do you know Bekeri eats a lot of potatoes and cereal?
Amelia: No (staring out the window).
Me: Do you know Bekeri’s family only makes about $8.00 a month?
Amelia: No (still staring out the window).
Me: Do you know Bekeri has three kids in his family?
Amelia: Mooooom, no (still staring out the window, only now mildly annoyed).
Me: Well what DO you know about Bekeri?
Amelia: (Heavy sigh followed by about five seconds of silence) I know he is from Ethiopia, not Kenya like you thought because I asked about that this morning. I know that Ethiopia is across the ocean. I know his favorite color is red, and he has a pet goat, but I don’t know why he has a pet goat, and I know that even though he is dressed nice in a tie, that he is poor. Plus, I’m not sure if he has a dirt floor or a dirty floor, but I know he has one of those things.
And at that I smiled. Our journey towards GRACIOUS GIVING doesn’t always need an adult at the helm, and maybe that’s a good thing.
Last week my talk dripped of sarcasm, not at all unusual.
Last week I forgot to press the edit button in my head, and when I thought something, it immediately came racing out of my mouth, and often with a sharp edge.
Last week instead of being funny, I crossed over into being mean.
Last week I wondered what the nonstop moving of my mouth had to do with my family’s overall goal of GIVING.
So I thought and
Oh yeah, I’ve got it.
Part of being able to GIVE to others is to actually be able to see and HEAR their needs. Hearing about the needs of others is impossible when sarcasm is oozing out my mouth.
Thankfully, God has blessed me with a clean, fresh and new week starting today. Actually, starting right now. So my mouth is closed people, and I’m excited to see and HEAR what I’ve been missing.
What about you? Do you struggle with talking over the needs of others?
In our family’s quest to find our way to GRACIOUS GIVING, I often put pressure on myself to focus on grand and original ways to help others. Example: Starting a diaper closet in our community.
Then sadly, I overlook the simple and practical ways to practice giving. Example: Participating in a local coat drive.
Sometimes instead of trying to lead the way, I need to just shut-up and follow. As I’ve been wrestling with this idea, I ran across a video.
This shaky footage of some crazy, shirtless dancing guy has a great theme- The world needs followers.
Attention sweet skimmers and those of you who don’t want to spend 2 minutes and 57 seconds watching some barefoot, concert-goer get down (Um, hello? Why not?) skip the video and HEAR THIS-
Followers make great ideas happen. Projects, movements, and missions can’t survive without people taking the courageous step to follow. So for now, I'm looking for ways to follow, and today I am going to search our closets for some coats. Maybe a diaper closet will come into the picture somewhere down the road, but today, I will just follow.