Walking down Magnificent Mile I saw him. A man so clearly struggling. In a hospital gown pushing a basic metal frame walker, a dried bloody bandaged foot and a complete hopelessness on his face.
I was called to help this man. I knew it. I knew in my spirit I was to do something. The problem was I didn't know what. I had no cash and no food establishments were nearby. I had a moment of my heart beating so fast and nervousness all over, but talked myself out of it.
What am I really supposed to do? How can I even begin to help him? I don't have anything to offer.
I walked on by and said nothing about what I had experienced. Not even to my husband.
Weeks went by and I went back to my comfortable world and thought nothing of the man. It wasn't until Thanksgiving of 2013 I had another tug. It was the Holidays and I was dead set on our kids knowing the value of helping others during a time where they receive plenty.
I put out a call to Facebook and asked people to help me find organizations or activities where we could serve as a family. We had a good list going. Blessing the trash workers, postal workers, helping a neighbor with yard work, cards for kids in the hospital, making a meal for families at the Ronald McDonald House and a homeless outreach. All of activities were in my comfort zone, but one. The homeless outreach. Yeah, we're just gonna move that one on down the list. Cooking for people. I can do that. Serving those who make me uncomfortable. Nope.
That was my plan. To put off the homeless outreach until and maybe we wouldn't have time to get to it. Funny thing about my plans. I shared the list with the kids and they picked the homeless outreach.
I could go on and on about what that day of serving did for us. It was a beautiful, messy moment that shook my beliefs on the homeless and poor. What I knew of my community and the struggles I thought I knew was NOTHING. Instead, people wanted (and needed) what we had as far as physical donations, but what they truly longed for was acknowledgement.
It was then I realized maybe my moment on Magnificent Mile was just to stop the man in the hospital gown and have a conversation. To let him know 'I see you'. You are of value. You are not the scum of the streets. You are not a sum of your mistakes. You are a living, breathing, beautiful person who is loved by the one, true God.
As my church prepares for an complete city wide outreach, it reminds me where we began as a family. Stepping out of complete comfort to love on people. I invite you to join us for #Loveday16 in Tulsa, OK.
I want you to know that YOU have something to offer people. No matter how small or insignificant you think your gifts and talents are, they will be used and for a good purpose. This is a pretty good video of what one small step can do for you and others.