Once a month, God gives me a lesson in perspective.
I know, you’re wondering what that means. Let me tell you a story.
Almost two years ago my church started a community outreach program. They help folks pay bills or give them a Walmart gift card. It’s a great program and I’m glad my little church can spare the funds to do such a wonderful thing. It touched my heart the moment I heard about it. Now, if y’all have been reading my blog for a while you’ll know that I’m pretty introverted. I have a super hard time stepping out of my comfort zone. Striking up a conversation with a stranger is scary and crazy hard. But from the moment they announced this program – called Good Samaritans – I felt like I was supposed to be part of it. God put it on my heart and didn’t let up until I’d signed up to volunteer.
It’s the best scary thing I’ve ever done.
Living with chronically crappy health can really skew your perspective on life. It can deaden your empathy. It can give you tunnel vision. I know because it’s done all of that to me. It can be such an exhausting weight that you can’t really see beyond that.
But once a month, at Good Samaritans, God gives me a lesson in perspective.
I get to visit with people who are struggling more than I ever have. I am richly blessed. I’m not rolling in cash but I can pay my bills each month and I own my home and have a good car. I have more than the people I help and that makes me humble and thankful. Every single one of them is always kind and friendly. They’ll joke and laugh and lift each other up while they wait their turn.
There’s one man who takes a bus to the closest bus stop and then bikes to our church. He has to get up around 5am to make it there but he’s there before we open doors at 8:30 every month. And he’ll come in and help us set up if we’re short handed. I’ve never heard him whine about his struggles. He’s always kind and sweet.
There’s another man who comes every month for the help and to visit. He knows all the volunteers by name and knows details about our lives that he asks about every month. He knows most of the regulars and will wait until last so he can have time with the other folks there. It’s his mission to make everyone there laugh and smile.
There’s a woman who’s been coming since the program started. She’s so proud and you can tell that it hurts her to need help. But each month she’s soften and relaxed and opened up. She was diagnosed with cancer around Christmas. She’s kept coming throughout her chemo. She came today and fought back tears as she tried to ignore the pain of kidney stones while she waited for help paying her rent.
None of the struggles in my life come close to any of the things these people are facing. These beautiful souls. These people who have no idea how much helping them has helped me. How much their stories stay with me. How much they matter to me and the other volunteers.
Perspective. It’s a beautiful gift.
If you’d like to help some of the people who come to the Good Samaritans program, you can make a donation to my church: http://jchurch.life/good-samaritan-project/. Just follow that link. You can read about the program and at the bottom of the page is a link to give online. This month we had to turn away three people because we ran out of money. It’s be nice if we didn’t have to do that in August.