If you haven’t any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.
I love volunteering but don’t talk much about what I do since it’s a personal thing to me. I don’t do it for recognition or for the praise or anything like that. I do it for selfish reasons: making others happy makes me happy. No matter what kind of day I’ve had, volunteering makes it all better.
Since moving to Washington, I haven’t been volunteering except with my FRG. That has left quite a hole in my soul. But I know I’ll eventually get into it again when I find the right places to volunteer.
I’ve noticed that there are quite a few homeless/less fortunate people who hang out on the corners here. There were several in Michigan, but there are just times of the year when it’s impossible to stand outside.
Anyway, like most people, I generally send a good thought to them but ignore them. Once in a while, Huzzy and I will pass them a dollar or five. But that’s about it. We couldn’t afford to give money to everyone.
And I hate to say it but in Michigan, there were a lot of people who made their entire living begging… and made more in a year than I did. And there were just as many people who didn’t need money but found it amusing to beg. Police did a sting on them once and weeded out those who were not truly in need and were doing it to dupe people.
So I was heading to Target today and passed by a man with a dog in the parking lot. His sign read, “Will work for food.” As I drove by, something tugged at my heart–and it wasn’t because of the dog. I don’t know what it was. Well, actually I do know. For those of you who believe in God, I truly felt God calling me to help. So much so that I nearly started crying.
So I went to Target and quickly purchased the items I needed and then went and got a bag of dog food and a went to their cafe and purchased a sandwich, chips and a bottle of water.
He was gone from the parking lot by the time I got back. I hadn’t been in the store too incredibly long, so I knew he probably wasn’t too far. I figured, most likely, he’d been kicked out of the parking lot for peddling. So I drove around a bit.
A block and a half down the street, I saw the dog hanging outside McDonald’s looking anxiously inside. My heart melted because I knew what I did was right… that man must have received some money and immediately went to find something to eat. He truly was hungry.
So I stopped at the McDonald’s and went up to the dog. The owner saw the dog leave the window and left the line to come and check.
And I had been wrong. It was a woman who had her hair pulled back into a ponytail. I was pretty sure I had the right person, but didn’t want to embarrass anyone so I just said, “Are you the person who was at Target?” She responded that yes, she was, so I told her I had something for her and asked her to wait.
I returned with the dog food and the bag with the cafe sandwich, chips and water. I handed it to her and said, “Here. I hope this helps.” She looked like she was about to cry and just said thank you. Which made me almost start crying again. She bent down to her dog and said, “Look at what you get!” I just said, “God Bless you.” And she just smiled at me and again said thank you.
As I drove away, I saw her carefully measuring out her purchased McDonald’s sandwich and giving half to the dog in his little bowl and keeping half for herself.
The entire ride home, I tried to keep from tearing up. Partly in sadness for her, partly bittersweet that I could make her day and partly because I truly feel the Grace of God reached out to her through me.
Now, I’m not telling you this story because I want you to say what a great person I am. We all do things to help others, I don’t need to hear about my one small thing.
But what I DO want to remind you is that no matter how bad your life is going… there is someone out there who is dealing with worse. And if you are sad because your spouse is deployed, you are dealing with disappointments in life, etc… try reaching out and making someone else’s life better, if only for a moment. I promise, it will make you feel better.
And not only that but… if we each were to each reach out to someone… can you imagine what a better world this would be?
So my question for you is… what have you done lately to make this world a little better place?