Tag Archives: generosity

Damsel in Distress Part 759

It’s that time again. Time for me to dust off my recurring role as the damsel in distress. I’m beginning to fear I’ve been typecast by fate. So far this blog has entertained… well, not millions, but my definitely my husband as I lock my keys in the car, get stuck in the snow and give myself a black eye, just to name a few.

I have no one to blame but myself. Or my children, and the significant sleep deficit which is definitely their fault. But what kind of Mom blames her own children for her frazzled, overwhelmed and far-too-often absent minded performance?

This one. I blame them. I love them, but I blame this crazy, relentless, exhausting life and my subsequent doziness on those adorable mini people. I don’t know who I’m going to blame when they grow up and leave me.

cartMy latest drama begins in our local supermarket. I sped through my list as fast as humanly possible while the boy alternated between screaming at the top of his lungs (and he has some impressive pipes on him) and cheerfully pulling everything off the shelf as we rolled by. By the time I got to the checkout line I was frazzled and nearing defeat.

$188.33

More than I’d like, but par for the course these days for the feeding, cleaning and diapering a family of 6, at least in our part of the world. Four of us don’t even need diapers, so that’s a huge savings right there.

Feeling a little smug about my foresight, I pulled out my newly activated credit card. My wallet was stolen last week and I’ve been slowly re-making my plastic identity. It’s one of those extra tasks which seems insurmountable in the face of our usual daily grind. But I did it. I called the number. I even signed the back.

I did not, however, take note of the new pin number which would be arriving in the mail also.

*sigh*

So here we are, with a fully loaded cart of groceries, a half eaten bag of fishy crackers (see above re: screaming), a grumpy three-year-old, and the Perry the Platypus sticker he just stuck on my chin. Embarrassed, but not unused to this position, I tell my story and ask them to hold my groceries until I can return with yet another new credit card waiting patiently at home to be activated.

I felt so bad for the man waiting behind me. He had a bag of oranges and a couple bananas. He was about my age, but polished, put together. The kind of guy who drives a nice car and goes to the gym a lot.

I wonder what he saw as I stood there in my second-hand boots, bags under my eyes and hair falling out of its clip. My son whining and grabbing me while sporting a wicked black eye and a runny nose. I was cringing inside. Feeling judged. Feeling humiliated.

As the checkout lady begins to wheel our cart away, he says, “Wait!”

He leans over and peers at my receipt. He pulls out his credit card. He waves his hand, like it’s no big deal.

“I’ll pay for it. Then you won’t have to come back. It’s my gift to you.”

“Uhhh… oh no, no.” I stammer. “It’s, like, $200. Really, it’s okay.”

He insists. He pays. He acts like it’s no big deal.

This was an extremely rare moment for me. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t even know how to start. I was struck dumb. I hope I remembered to say Thank You. I hope I said it a lot.

As I packed my free groceries into the van, he began to drive away. I flagged him down, standing outside his window in the rain, so I could at least shake his hand and find out his name.

He told me that it seemed like I was having “a day,” plus having my wallet stolen and all… He said something about putting good out in the universe and it’d come back eventually. His name was Nick.

I had a lot of feelings about this. My first was pride. I didn’t want to seem pathetic (though, let’s face it, I probably was), and I could take care of it myself. My second was practical, and just a little bit mercenary. I’m going on a trip this month that falls outside our budget and we are feeling it. $188.33 is a lot of money to us. My biggest feeling, however, the one that has followed me around ever since, was bone-deep, soul shaken, faith-in-humanity-restored, just got a-hug-from-God, giddy and amazed GRATITUDE.

It’s not the $188.33. It’s not the time, hassle and embarrassment saved. It’s the unexpected, unsolicited, unassuming grace of the moment.

I’ve been tasting it ever since.

And that’s worth a whole lot more than $188.33.

$188.33

So here’s me, thanking Nick. Because I needed that. 

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V-Day Project: Looking for 9 Good Humans

waterI was 16 when I ordered my first drink in a restaurant. Not a boozie drink. Just a pop (that’s a soda for you ‘mericans).

We didn’t go out to eat very often when I was growing up. My mom put food on the table almost every night, not only for us, but also for a rotating cast of “extras” in our open-door, hospitality-to-all home. Paying someone else to make our food did not fit into the frugalness-is-next-to-godliness family doctrine. Except, of course, for the occasional outing to DQ, since ice cream supercedes dogma.

When we did find ourselves seated around the table of a moderately priced family restaurant, usually pizza or breakfast food on the menu, we followed Standard Operating Procedure. Consult the coupon/weekly special/children’s menu for the BEST DEAL (yes, the BEST DEAL must always be capitalized; it is Important). Order water all around. And extra plates, because who would order a whole plate when you can share? Whatever you don’t eat, Dad will eat, including garnish. Wasting food was a terrible sin in our family; wasting Food We Paid Good Money For was UNTHINKABLE! On the way out, dessert for everyone: a chalky mint from the communal bowl by the door.

It was still a treat! As much as I like to tease my Dad about his miserly ways, he taught us that we can do without, and barely even notice. And so can you.

This Valentine’s Day, SheLoves Magazine is raising money to build a well in Burundi for the Batwa tribe. These people live at a level of poverty which we can barely contemplate. Most eat only once every three days.

Suddenly my frugal dining history is looking pretty decadant.

Which got me thinking… the next time I go to a restaurant, I will order water. I drink water, so that somewhere on the other side of the world another tired, frazzled Mom can do the same. And the few dollars I save, I give. A few dollars that don’t really mean that much to me, but to the town of Bubanza they mean clean water and a bright future.

This Valentine’s Day I’m donating $10 to build a well. I’m asking 9 of you to join me.

That’s it. Just $10.

sheloveswell-widget2Check it out:

O, That We May Love Well

Altogether, we are asking 100 SheLoves friends—yes, you, Beautiful one—to form a giving circle with your friends. When 100 of us say yes to gathering, we become multiplied by 10, each person giving $10, we reach our goal of $10,000.

100 SheLoves friends

x 10

x $10

= $10,000.

There’s a lot that needs doing in the world. And it’s overwhelming. And exhausting.

But this is very doable.

Please read up on the project and donate here.

And let me know.

1. Christie

2. Alison

3. Viva

4. Marjolaine

5. Walker

6. Marc

7. Thérèse

8. Eric

9. Shelby

So here’s me, $10 poorer, but richer in the long run.

February 15th Update:

“We did it! The SheLoves Well is currently at $11,025. YES, there will officially be a SheLoves Well in Bubanza and our friends will drink from this Well of Love and friendship and global community.

Thank you so much to *everyone* who gathered in Circles of Grace and gave from your hearts this past week. Happy WELLentine’s Day, from the bottom of our collective hearts.”

sarahbessey.com


From Precipice to Poopy Diapers

A life hangs in the balance. Literally.

Stretched to the limit atop a precipice, men form a human chain, intent on saving the one who has fallen over the edge. Their strength begins to wane. They are slipping closer and closer to gruesome death. Dangling over the edge, the last man realizes what is at stake. With a sigh of resignation and a look of absolution, he lets go; plunging to his death, rather than risk the lives of his comrades.

“NOOOOOO!” Cut to primal scream of the main character.

I can think of half a dozen movies with this scene. Change a few details, rearrange the sequence, tweak the wardrobe… it’s a classic bit.

Sometimes it’s a bullet. Sometimes it’s a bomb. Sometimes it’s a grizzly bear. Sometimes it’s a burning building.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13)

We replay it in the media over and over again, because it resonates. These hero stories appeal to us. Like Christ, who sacrificed himself to save us all. We want to believe that sacrifice like this happens. We want to believe that WE would do the same thing.

When push comes to shove comes to the edge of a precipice… I like to believe I would. Especially for my family or my friends, but even for a stranger. In my daydreams, these Messiah moments are bold and dramatic, with a stirring soundtrack playing in the background.

But it’s not a likely scenario. The closest I’ve ever come is the time I fell down the stairs with baby in arms and turned to take the brunt of it on my back while holding her out of harm’s way. That was maternal instinct, and over in a split second.

The really great love, the kind our world needs more of, is not as glamorous and sexy as those cinematic scenes. It is giving up myself to help someone else in a thousand small, everyday ways. It doesn’t feel heroic, but it is.

Not running into a burning building, but listening to that elderly relative tell the same story for the third time in one phone call.

Not fighting off a rabid grizzly, but scrubbing the bathroom, doing the laundry and making dinner.

Not throwing my body on a grenade, but mopping up vomit, changing the sheets and putting on a sympathetic face.

Not throwing myself in front of a bullet, but calmly handling one more screaming tantrum, knock-em-down-drag-em-out fight or weepy confession.

Not sacrificing my life, but sacrificing my time, my energy, my comfort, my sleep, and maybe even my chocolate (gasp!).

In some ways, it’s a lot harder than the big dramatic exploits. I’m pretty sure I could make the impressive gesture, if given the opportunity. But the daily grind kind of sacrifice… mine is not an Oscar worthy performance EVERY time.

I whine. I get frustrated. I am consumed by my own performance. I overlook all the heroes around me. I resent.

But sometimes I love. Sacrificially. Heroically. Not anything they’ll make a movie about. Not anything people will notice or applaud or hand out awards for. But that’s kind of the point of sacrificial love, isn’t it?

Scroll down to the comments section. How many acts of sacrificial love, that will never make a movie trailer, can we think of?

So here’s me, wondering if diaper changes would feel more heroic with the right soundtrack in the background. Next time I’ll play this song:


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