The giving thing.
It’s been interesting, the response I’ve received back, on this redirection of money in order to give big. Some people have disagreed with it, some have said it’s stupid, some have asked for money, some have sent information on the charities they support. Only two people have said, “Yes! That’s awesome! We’re doing the same thing and it’s amazing!” and “God moves in frustrating and awesome ways – this is good work!”
So maybe it deserves just a bit more explanation on my part, because personally, there have been so many situations in my own life that I just didn’t understand something until I had more information. Kind of like when I was back in college in my art history classes, and sometimes I simply couldn’t find or see the beauty in those works of art until the professor explained why they were so significant. Then they literally seemed to explode in front of my eyes in their magnificence and power and my heart shifted, changed, at times racing with excitement and other times breaking with sorrow.
Here’s how my heart has shifted over my life and shaped how and why I feel pulled to give something, and in particular, food.
My parents were foster parents. For years. For years before I was born, even. And you know what? A lot of the children they fostered would horde food in their rooms, under the beds, in secret spots, even though there was always food in the house and plenty at every meal. They horded food because they had lived so frequently with the question of, “When will I get to eat again? How many days until I have food?”
When I was 22, I was divorced and a single mom of a toddler. He was about 16 months old. Suddenly I had rent to pay, two mouths to feed, daycare to find and afford, a car to maintain, and all of the regular bills that come along with living. I was stretched very, very thin, even with the help of others. My father-in-law at the time paid for a portion of my rent, which was a Godsend, my mother helped with childcare when it worked with my insane work schedule (it would take me an extra hour and 15 minutes to drive to her house, and then to work, one way), and I lived off of the coffee and hot chocolate packets and coffee creamer at work in order to make sure that my baby had more food. I “existed” on the high of stress and the caffeine of coffee. And you know what? Every week or so, I would open the door to our townhouse and find a bag of groceries left for us, anonymously (though I know my mom and dad left a few of those bags), and would fall to my knees in thankfulness and humbleness because of it. Every month I became further and further behind in paying bills, trying desperately to make it on my own and take care of us, but it was almost impossible. At one point, I even went to a credit counselor for assistance with my budget, and after he had looked at everything he said, “I don’t know what to tell you. There’s nothing left to cut.”
I remember thinking, even then, that because we had been shown such kindness and tenderness, that someday I would pay it forward. Not could. Would.
It’s been twenty years since I was in that dark situation and I still can’t retell it without feeling that brokenness. That part never gets better.
Love God. Love people.
Food is simple. It’s even easy to give. If you have enough money for a fancy coffee drink, you have enough money for a full meal for someone else. Even the kind of gum I buy now costs over $3. Add in $2 more and I can give someone a fully cooked rotisserie chicken.
So it’s not stupid that I’m doing this. It is awesome to be able to do it. I can’t always do it, I haven’t always been able to do it, I’ve even been on the other end of it. Someday I’ll be able to do even more.
And I hope I never, never forget the power and magnificence and beauty of paying it forward.
The cashier said that we were the second flat cart to come through within 10 minutes with items for a food drive. She said, “You guys are restoring my faith in humanity.”
We got help from the family who parked next to us in the parking lot of Costco. When we said thank you, the mom said, “Thank you for letting us be a part of this blessing.”
People are awesome, everywhere.
When we got to church, our pile looked so insignificant to what’s already there. And more donations will roll in this weekend. You can’t even see the huge fireplace in the middle of the foyer anymore! Two families brought out a dolly to help us cart everything in.
The blur there on the right in front of the food items is our boy, jumping up and down with excitement.
And now, off to tuck my boys in. Have a happy weekend!
You guys are awesome and I am blessed to call you my friends. Thanks for sharing your heart. Love you!
love you too, ali. :)
…there’s no other word for it…
nope. no other word. i can’t wait to know how many pounds of food were donated!