It hurts my heart to know how many people carry shame. People lack confidence and self worth and this world has a way of tearing people down rather than building them up. I serve in the food kitchen Tuesday and I am deeply humbled by the experiences that change me to the core. I work along side of two very kind gentleman. It was almost time to close up the kitchen when one man dropped his head and approached me in shame. As he reluctantly grabbed his plate, he spoke some words to me that broke my heart. I am not like you he said in a quiet voice. I asked what he meant and he pointed to the people in the other room and said I am one of them. I belong on their side of the serving table. If a heart breaking made a noise, you would have heard mine shatter. I took my apron off and I went into the room and joined him at the table. I sat side by side with the people whose plates I had just filled with food. There is only one table. The belief that there are two sides is a horrible lie. If I could heal one thing in all people it would be to replace their shame with confidence and self worth. We are not who others say we are. We are who God says we are.
This experience, this lesson will stay with me until I breathe my last breath. I too have felt that kind of shame. The world has pointed a finger and told me I’m not good enough, strong enough. The world tells me I am a failure, but then I remember who I really am. We are one people connected by humanity not meant to be separated into levels of worth based on our economic status, the color of our skin or the education we have or have not received. We are not meant to be judged by the way we parent or by the job we do or do not have. I am so blessed to be able to bridge the gap between the misconceptions of the world and what I know to be true in my heart. We are all created in the image of God. We are not meant to carry shame. If you have ever felt you are not good enough, I lift you up today and my heart truly goes out to you. You are enough in spite of your circumstances. You are worthy and you deserve love. I am so sorry if the world tells you anything different.
Yesterday I went through all of my old closets to dig out any old blankets I had around the house. One of the resource centers in the city made a plea asking for donations of blankets for our homeless population. As I got out of my car with blankets in hand, someone started beeping wildly. When I looked up at the driver, she yelled from her window thank you so much and may God bless you.
When I went to bed last night I couldn’t get warm. I have a house, I have heat and even with blankets on my bed, I was still chilled to the bone. I woke up today worried about the people on the streets and the ones without heat. Sometimes we get so wrapped up complaining about the drama in our own lives that we forget to be grateful for the blessings we have. If you can help the less fortunate, I urge you to do it. Something as simple as a blanket and some old clothes could make a tremendous difference in someone’s life.
Today count your blessings. Don’t curse your life or your circumstances but put things in perspective as you take a warm shower and drive your car to work. There is so much to be grateful for and when we focus on those things, the way we view our life changes. Our problems become much smaller than they sometimes appear. Bless someone today anyway you can.
This is one of those moments when I gain confidence in my personal parenting. I was truly touched when my son brought this writing assignment home. He has written about me several times during his short 10 years of his life. Many times his words would express praise for the kind of mother I am because I cook, clean, help with homework, and buy him things. But this time, a real breakthrough. He actually found something in my character worthy of an award and that is helping others and performing random acts of kindness. Just tonight, he was riding with his dad who stopped to help someone on the side of the road who ran out of gas. We have never tooted our own horns about our kindness toward others, but tonight, we know for sure that the very fact that he recognizes these small acts of kindness and finds them worthy of acknowledgement gives us a great deal of certainty, that he too will perform these very small actions that will mean so much to someone who needs them in the future. It’s true, sometimes our actions teach louder than our words. A great lesson for all of us.