Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Compassion...slice of life

Every other Wednesday I get the opportunity to meet people that are around me in my community. A ministry was developed to help with homelessness and poverty in my area and I jumped onboard. The best part has been just getting to know some of the families. I have nothing to give. I have everything to gain from everyone around me.

Tonight while the adults ate dinner, the kids were invited to paint T-shirts with puffy paint. Oh, the 80's. Everything was running very smoothly. T-shirts were created and spread out on the floor to dry.

The story of the woman involved is unknown. What is known is she comes by herself and has several young children. Her youngest, definitely under two, was walking around by himself at the center. Wet paint must attract small feet. His feet found the shirts and kept walking and as we could follow his trail, kids noticed that their shirts had been walked on. While only a few were "messed up", most were left undisturbed.

Now, common sense would tell me to keep a closer eye on the child, but he ended up going through the shirts two more times. And while one girl eyed the damage to her brother's shirt, she responded with grace and compassion, "It's okay, he's just a baby."

I spent the night cleaning up puffy paint off the floor and wondering why can't she watch her child closer? However, after speaking with another volunteer, I was reminded that this may be the only outlet where she can sit and let her kids walk around and know that they are safe.

You never truly know another's story until they share it with you. It's a lesson I need to remember when I meet others.

1 comment:

Kari said...

Sometimes it's so hard not to judge, but you're right...we don't know this woman's story or her struggle. We have to "meet people where they are" and show them love even when it's difficult or frustrating. Thanks for the important reminder and for doing such important work.