Needs are all around me

It’s been a very long short week. Even though I worked 4 of the 5 days, the hours seemed to go slowly.  I guess I’m still getting back into the swing of things after taking some time off at Christmas and New Years.

Regarding my current assignment to help anyone in need, I have certainly found it surprising at how quickly my mind has shifted from avoiding to seeking.  Of course, some opportunities just find me like Wednesday night when I was given an opportunity to play a small part in helping someone out of a very difficult situation.  Sometimes the help we give comes in the form of encouragement, prayer, and connecting people to the resources they need that I can’t provide.

Other times, we must seek opportunities. On Thursday, I had finished a quick lunch by 12:30 and had a few minutes to go out of the office before a 1:00 conference call and enjoy the unseasonably warm temps.  What a change from two days earlier when the freezing temps were driving people inside.  With a bill slipped in my pocket I hit the streets for a quick circuit downtown.  I thought I’d drop in at Hardee’s and possibly pick up a gift card or two that could be used for meals if I ran into someone needing a meal.  I first thought about walking around Kiener Plaza but then opted to cut across the middle.  That’s where “they” hang out.  My first sighting was a false alarm.  From a distance he looked like a good candidate until I got closer and he whipped out his cell phone.  I decided that was a sign to keep walking. Just 20 feet later, a man I would later learn to be named Al, approached me. Very friendly, big smile, very reassuring that he wasn’t begging.  Instead, he was collecting support for local shelters.  He was legit – his credentials proved it and his spirit confirmed it.  One of the shelters is run by  an organization headed by a colleague of mine.  Al and I chatted a bit – mostly small talk about the incredible weather – he thanked me and I decided I needed to head back to the office.

Today, I attended a funeral for an employee’s father with the hope that my presence would be a comfort. I remember the kindness shown by so many when Dad passed away that this comes quite naturally.  The congregation hymn was “How Great Thou Art” – the same sung by my wife 11 years ago at Dad’s graveside.  It’s these gifts of self that make the greatest impact.

A quick stop at Gus’s Pretzels for a dozen twists for everyone back at the office and I was out the door but not before a spontaneous contribution into the jar at the counter supporting the Backstoppers.

Lessons God is teaching me so far:

  • Needs are all around me – some are revealed – some must be discovered.
  • Understand that solutions are as varied as the needs themselves.
  • Hold my possessions loosely; share myself freely.
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