Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Christmas Challenge

Last night a dear friend of mine and I attended the pre-Christmas eve service at the church we attend.  Our pastor just lost his son about 2-weeks ago, and was able to find the will and strength to be there and lead the service.  It was nothing short of awe inspiring to see this man after suffering such  devastation just a short time ago.  Of course, Dr. Hunter has always been an inspiring person to us all, and every week he preaches we walk away feeling renewed and ready to take on the challenges that we'll each face in the coming week.

Afterwards my friend Judie and I decided to get dinner together.  We were sitting on the patio of the restaurant we'd chosen and were just finishing our meal, talking over Christmas plans with our families, when a lady slowly walked up to us.  She asked in a very quiet voice if we could spare a dollar.  Judie and I both looked at each other, and at first we were both trying to find a reason not to give her anything, and then we both handed her a few dollars.  I think it was Judie, who asked her if she was hungry and if we could buy her dinner.  

The lady refused at first, and then she paused saying, "Will "they" bother me?"  I think what she meant, is will the restaurant management make her leave.  That broke my heart for her.  She wasn't dressed very well, her clothes stained and looking soiled.....her hair a bit unkempt.......but a face so beautiful.  We both assured her they would not, and insisted we buy her dinner.  

 We escorted her into the restaurant, and let her pick what she wanted......she appeared a little over-whelmed at being able to choose whatever she wanted.......but finally settled on a ham and cheese sandwich with a bowl of pasta.  We sat with her trying to make small talk as she took a few bites, and then suddenly she asked if she could take her food and leave.  Not wanting to make her feel uncomfortable, we got the food boxed  for her, (Judie even went and bought a dessert for her to take).  As she rose to leave, she thanked us, and then we both hugged her, wishing her a merry Christmas, watching as she left in the dark......

My point in even writing this is to  first admit that initially I didn't want to give this total stranger money, much less buy her a meal.  I have to be honest......panhandling in Florida gets a little crazy, especially this time of year.  However, it was something I could do, and it is not up to me to worry about whether the woman's need was real......for Judie and I, it was a random act of kindness that presented itself to us, and we both felt it was such a tiny request, we could not ignore or refuse it.

 My challenge for all of you who may read this, is to find one person today.....maybe someone you know, or even don't know, and do something of kindness for that person.  We have no idea what goes on in others lives, and your act of kindness may be the one little thing that gives them courage, or hope.  Be that light in someone's life today.......you have no idea how far it will shine.

 And to Siene......the beautiful lady I met last night.....thank you for giving me the opportunity to help in a very small way.