It seems to me, at least this morning, that worry equates to “what if’s.” I have been fortunate in my life in that I have never lost someone intimately close to me before. Everyone I love is living, including my 94 year-old grandmother.
Things are changing, because I am getting older. So is everyone else.
My step father was recently placed on hospice. The inevitable is coming, and it could be any time. I will be flying to Oregon in two weeks to spend time with my mother and my step father, also helping out any way I possibly can during these four days.
I have been filled with worry for my mother. All the what if’s. Like, what if my step father passes while I am there? What if my mother completely falls apart? I am very concerned about her living alone so far away in their little house in the country. You know, all the important what if’s. Of course, they are all important, right?
But…God. I was reminded this morning by His heart nudging mine that He is God regardless of what is going on. He is faithful. He provides. He does not change. He is good and He knows the future. He is God and He changes not. My job (our job) is to remind ourselves, nourish our own souls by these truths (His truths) and to rest in His care, His promises.
I am leaving my “what if’s” in His hands this morning. This is a continual, daily process. A choice I must make. He changes not. He has never failed me before (nor anyone else I know) and He never will. We can go through our lives worrying and fretting, praying and picking up the burdens again, but regardless, God is God and He is faithful. Our jobs are to remind ourselves, “work out our salvation,” feed our spirits with His truths and trust that He has everything under control that concerns us and those we love.
I live in a relatively small coastal town. It is not unusual to bump into people you know where ever you may be. It is also very easy to recognize the homeless: new panhandlers and regulars. Over the years I have learned how to recognize the differences between true homelessness and its desperation, as well as those sign holders who make their living for their addiction or even the
liars, cheats, lazy scammers.
completely pisses me off infuriates me when I see how many scammers and addicts have taken over our parking lot exit ways and streets. I used to feel so sorry for them all until my encounter with the deaf-mute man at Jack in the Box many, many years ago. I will get to that in a minute. But, what really irritates me is our city police who do nothing about this growing epidemic. We have an ordinance against such panhandling, yet these lowlifes people are everywhere…so are the cops, who choose to ignore.
Let me share some photos that pull at my heart strings (possibly yours as well):
Those who do not hold a sign, but rather bring their pets (my heart turns to mush over animals) and a bucket/container. I always imagine their story.
^How about the ones WITH a sign, bundled up in blankets WITH their pet(s)? This always makes me sad…for the dog.
Now, we move forward into the audacity of some. Some
idiots people will actually give money to these types because they think their nerve is funny or others even applaud their honest acknowledgement that the money they receive will be for booze or drugs. These type of sign holders truly anger me, and I feel disgust over the many who support their lifestyle.
^Ever seen one of these? I have seen a few in our town. It greatly bothers me when I see such sign holders because our children can see them, the children who are at the age of reading well for themselves. Not cool.
Moving on, I appreciate the people who hold signs like this:
or even this:
…yet, I will NOT give them a penny. They are willing to trade a service for food. Really? Sometimes I have given them a
Happy meal. Or offer them a job. Most of them have turned down any job offered because “they can make more money holding a sign for a few hours.” Seriously? THAT infuriates me. And we cater to this epidemic.
How about this one:
These type of sign holders like to make you feel guilty or recount a scriptural truth concerning blessings. Many
religious people who love God will give to these types. Panhandlers truly have learned the art in how to manipulate us all in some way or another.
Anyway, on to the Jack in the Box deaf-mute man, who I was pleasured to meet many years ago when I drove through Jack in the Box with my kids for milkshakes. He greeted me at the order window holding a sign made out of cardboard which read:
“PLEASE HELP. CAR BROKE DOWN ON WAY TO AIRPORT. HELP MY FAMILY HAVE A HOTEL FOR TONIGHT. I CANNOT SPEAK OR HEAR.”
As I was reading the sign he held in front of him, he was using hand gestures and facial expressions to pull my heart strings. I gave him all the cash in my wallet (I think it was about $16) and used my debit card to pay for our milkshakes. I also bought the deaf-mute man milkshakes for his entire family (family of six). My kids and I felt so good and were just glowing during the drive home, feeling like we had helped this family.
Well…it was about two weeks later my kids wanted another milkshake and as we entered that same Jack in the Box driveway I saw the deaf-mute man once again. Except this time, he did not see me. He was hanging out with a group of sign-holders under a tree towards the back of the parking lot with their camper. He was quite vocal. He could also hear quite well. He was even listening to tunes with ear buds, rocking out. I spied on him for a few moments and my kids were dumbfounded
as pissed as I was. He was laughing and seemed to be having a great time conversing with the others. I saw red! I did all the math and felt so dumb. I had been completely fooled by a “scammer.”
Since then, I have a somewhat guarded heart and attitude towards sign holders. I have seen documentaries about their addictions. I have learned all about their “ways.” There are so many resources in our county (as well as all over the United States) for the homeless including shelters, food pantries and meals provided through various churches and centers, our public schools serve lunches during the summer to ANYONE, the ACE program provides medical care, and we have donation sites everywhere. Truly, if you are homeless in my town you CAN find a bed, clothing, food, shelter and opportunities for rehabilitation and jobs. We have a few transitional housing centers to help families get back on their feet. There is even a “river community” of people who are provided services for their needs- they live in our local river bottoms. Usually when we give money to a sign holder or panhandler, we are only enabling them and feeding a bad habit/addiction.
But…what about our heart strings? My own has come to recognize the truly needy, the ones who do not hold signs, the ones who strive everyday to find hope. We can be that hope sometimes. Not in an enabling way, but rather much like a guardian angel whose paths cross with such at a particular moment in time. I have crossed paths with one particular man over the years and just the other night. He has a shopping cart filled with what little belongings he owns, covered with a blue tarp. He slumps terribly. He is very dirty and always sunburned. He never holds a sign, he never asks for anything. He just walks. Sometimes he rests. He travels miles in one day. I wonder where his destinations are? His clothing and shoes reflect he cares about his appearance even if he cannot locate a shower. His hair is trimmed neatly. A few years ago I passed to him a Von’s gift card I had received worth $25. His eyes danced. They even sparkled. I KNEW hope came to him that day. I saw him again the other night when I was getting gas. Once again I felt that urgency and pull in my heart to give him what cash I had in my wallet. I found a $10 dollar bill. It was as if he recognized me when I handed it to him and said, “God bless you.” His eyes danced and sparkled again. He was so thankful. I KNEW he was so thankful.
Only we can decipher between true homelessness desperation, addiction, enabling or the scammers. Follow your heart, but try not to let it be manipulated. Let go of guilt, because there are resources available. I know I am thankful every single day for what I have. I take nothing for granted, honestly.
So, when your heart strings are pulled, let the song play. Otherwise, grab a milkshake once in awhile for you and your own family.
First of all, I must apologize. It has been forever since I have written. I promise, I will be getting back to it. Life has been very, very busy for me lately-I am writing plenty for work and school, and this blog has not taken priority. I have missed being here. Plus, I realized many months ago I no longer wish to save the world. Nope. Not a job for me nor one I want. That is a job only God can handle. Of course, I still love Shakeology and drink it every day (I encourage everyone to use it too!), but I’m done preaching about it. Everyone is free to make their own healthy choices for their lives, however I am still going to share all about mine with you here.
Anyway, I’m back. Yesterday I realized that wine goes with everything. Really, it does. I am kind of wine grieving this week. If you love wine like I
consume it all the time do, then you KNOW it goes PERFECTLY with EVERY single meal, a good book or movie, fireplaces, homework, holidays, family & friend gatherings, chocolate and cheese, every possible food combination, etc. It is beautiful in a glass, smells and swirls divinely, and tastes better than anything grapes. I was also realizing (once again) how much wine has become an idol in my life. I am not an alcoholic, but I believe I have been a wine-o-holic for the past several years. I can stop. At any time. I do stop. But I sure miss it when I do. It’s just that once I pour one glass, I continue pouring. That is my problem. Remember my previous blog about my love for wine? You can read it here to catch up: http://wp.me/p35YUS-wT
Well, per doctor’s order I am off wine for the next two months. Sucks to be me, right? Especially when wine goes with everything in my life. After these two months are up, may be I will continue going without? I can’t say right now. However, I do know that if I go back, it will only be occasionally, because my little body is not happy right now.
I am feeling good, day three without wine. I have more energy, am sleeping sound and have lost 2.5 pounds. Just in three days, 2.5 pounds! That speaks volumes and I feel safe to share about that here. I am choosing to listen to my doctor and to stay consistent for my tummy’s sake and health. But, trust me, I am missing
crying about wine right now. I have prayed that every place in my life that wine has filled would be replaced by the touch and presence of God.
Do you struggle with something such as this? I’m interested…
Have a lovely weekend,
I received an e-mail about an hour ago that just made my day. I just had to share. It was from my mother.
Her joy just radiates.
“Thanks for the great tip. Went to Curves and had a ball. I got there about 11:00 AM and there were about 6 older women about my age and a couple of them around 80 years old, which made me feel in the right group. They were so friendly and told me they were a bunch of huggers and loved to hug and gave great hugs and then they all came and hugged me and introduced themselves. They are hoping I come when they are there and said they have a lot of fun and goof off a lot but always get there workout done. They dance around like I did on the little squares and looked so cute doing it. They were such a friendly group and said sometimes they go to lunch afterwards but not too often, maybe once a month. As they left they each came and hugged me again and they all hugged each other. The trainer was terrific and I just really had a great time and had a good workout. Wow, it really is quite a good workout and uses all your muscles. Am looking forward to continuing and to the new friendships. What a great bunch of ladies and I know God was directing the whole thing since they fit my age level and silliness. I just loved it all. Thanks for introducing me to Curves.” –Ginger B.
The resistance used in the Curves program is especially excellent for combating osteoporosis. I love that my workouts do not hurt my neck or hurt me! I have herniated discs and other spine problems involving my neck from an automobile accident years and years ago, so I have to be very careful, and I stay away from weight use with my upper body. Rather, I use my own muscles for strengthening and resistance during their fantastic 30-minute cardio workout.
The overall benefits my mother is going to gain to her health by joining Curves are just immeasurable. This led me to think about relationships and how important it is to have some kind of belonging with others. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “belonging” as “a close or intimate relationship.” We as humans, need to belong. To one another, to our friends and families, to our culture and country, to our world. Isolation, loneliness and low social status can harm a person’s subjective sense of well-being, as well as his or her intellectual achievement, immune function and health.
Since I made changes to my fitness, nutrition and added Shakeology as part of my daily meals, I can testify to the amazing benefits I have received. I no longer have bilateral hip or bilateral feet/ankle pain that I was having on a daily basis from my rheumatoid arthritis. I have lost weight at a healthy level, not rapidly (sure to come back) from some quick fix diet or over-the-counter protein shake. I have made healthy lifestyle changes, I am making precious progress and I feel so good. This is why I would love to help you on your journey for success. I would feel honored, actually.
Accountability and belonging to one another is a healthy choice we all should make and Keep Choosing Consistency day in and day out.
Have a lovely weekend,
P.S. Please contact me at any time if you would like more personalized FREE coaching and take a look at Shakeology, which is something I cannot imagine ever going without in my life. I am putting the link to the ingredients here: http://cdn.trek2befit.com/downloads/Shakeology%20Ingredients.pdf
Go take a look! 🙂