“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:25-26 (NIV)
It’s Christmas time. One suddenly gets in the frame of mind that they should be in all year long. “A season for giving, who shall I visit, and what shall I give them?” One struggling young couple came to my mind. I made a quick phone call before leaving work and she commented, “I have been sick and unable to work for several days.” I offered to bring her some soup from the store. She agreed, “Vegetable soup sounds good.”
I rushed to the store to buy the groceries. Then I followed the directions I was given. I drove down the dark, crowded streets in the south part of town. I finally found their apartment.
”Park behind our black car,” was the directions. I found it parallel parked along the side of the street under a large cottonwood tree. The car was covered with dust, leaves and bird drippings. Trash was gathered under the car; I could tell it had not been moved for a long time. Their car didn’t have a tag, and the window on the passenger side was broken. I shivered under my warm wool coat as I slowly walked up to the door, stepping around piles of leaves and thinking, how cold it would be to ride in that vehicle.
I juggled my groceries into one arm and knocked on the door. After a delay, he finally answered the door. He was skin and bones, dressed in baggy jeans and did not look healthy. With a bashful smile he asked, “Can you sit down and stay?” I can’t do that, I thought to myself. I don’t want to hear their story. Then I would have to share in their struggles and pain. Her hair was a dirty blonde color and straight. She looked pale and sickly, sitting on their soiled grey couch, wrapped in a blanket. She shared, “I just got a job, but I have missed work the last two days sick with this flu. I have lots of nausea,” she said. I wondered if she might be pregnant instead, but I didn’t ask. Unplanned pregnancies seem to happen a lot to the poor.
I questioned him about his work. “I do construction work whenever I get a call; I like to work for cash. Our car doesn’t run now,” he explained.
I wondered to myself, how do they pay their rent? How do they get to work? I won’t ask though, I don’t want to know, or get too involved in their lives. The last thing I need to do is get up earlier and drive people to work!
He proudly showed me their apartment. As I gazed around, I noted it was sparsely decorated and the entire apartment was the size of my living room. Their bed was in the corner of the living room. They had a big screen TV, something we don’t even have, and a computer on a desk in the corner of the room. There was no table to sit down and eat a meal.
“I think we are going to get a dog,” he said.
“Do you know how expensive they are to take care of?” I asked. I was sorry I made that comment, but the words had already rolled out of my mouth. What this couple really needs is a lesson in priorities, I thought. I wondered how they will celebrate the holidays.
I gave them the cans of family sized Kroeger brand vegetable soup and a broiled chicken that smelled good as I walked by the deli at Dillon’s. “Thank you, but we don’t need the chicken because we just bought some food.“ He opened the small refrigerator, which was half the size of mine. It was full of pop and beer and the cupboards had packages of Little Debbie Cupcakes and other snack foods.
They invited me to stay, but I didn’t want to hang around any longer. It was getting late and I knew my husband would be home from work soon. He doesn’t like me to be around these people and in this part of town after dark.
As I headed towards the door, he went to the closet and handed me a large wrapped gift. “It’s for Christmas,” he said. Surprised, I commented, “You shouldn’t have spent money on me.” They need to use it for themselves! “Thank you,” I said, as I kissed my son good-bye.
PRAYER: Dear Father, Help all the hurting parents in our world who watch as their prodigal children slowly destroy their lives. Please touch their hearts, so they will know You love their child too and will watch over them if they only have the courage to let go and let God. Please work through me as I strive to be the mother and grandmother you want me to be. Amen
Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.