//Confession: I can't solve the world's problems
In the wake of this week's tragedies--a bombing in Boston and an explosion in West, Texas--with so many innocent lives lost, it's tough to even sit down and write anything at all. I mean what can I say or do to encourage the victim's families or help the wounded survivors. I put off posting yesterday because I wasn't sure that anything I have to offer will make any difference at all.
Instead yesterday I prayed for my country, these hurting families, and the hearts of those watching from their living rooms. I cannot ignore or move forward pretending we aren't changed by these events. I cannot pretend I understand them.. I cannot say my prayers don't include questions. There are places in my heart that want to know why God doesn't stop this kind of thing. Despite those feelings I have to continue to trust that He is faithful and that He is good.
On Sunday, Diana talked about helping others and I can so relate to the feelings of wanting to fix everyone's problems and help those in need. Sometimes, so much so that I takeover and try to make things happen or resolve situations for others without even consulting God. I loved Diana's thoughts on the one; that even though we cannot rescue the innocent from harm, or give the lonely a home, or feed all the grumbling stomach's around us: we can help one. We can use our lives and do our best to touch and love the unloved, the hurting, and rejected.
When it comes to the people on the side of the road looking for some relief, I cannot offer money. In the city you can walk by ten homeless people easily, it would be financially impossible to offer all of them help. Instead, I like to make "manna bags" for those homeless I may pass in my car or on the street. Most of the toiletry items are from the dollar store, sold in packs of 3-5 or bought in bulk from Wal-mart. To me this is an affordable and practical means of offering love and help.
Contents: water, granola bar, wet wipes, tissues, swabs, crackers, soap, comb, lotion, sunblock
These of course are just example of some of the items I include but they are open to your personal interpretation. I also like to put verses of encouragement (click here for a printable version of five passages I include in my bags). Something hand written is also great to put in there.
For me, this is more than a "hand out", it is instead a way to make someone feel valued and thought about. Many of the people I work with that have been homeless have told me they feel dehumanized and shunned by the community they live in. No person deserves to feel invaluable. It takes little time for me to put these together but I believe and pray that the impact is greater than I know.
Maybe solving some of the world's problems begins with simple kindnesses, and genuine love for those we don't even know.//