Thursday, January 22, 2009

An eye-opener

The economic times we live in have hit me square in the face this morning.

As I got close to my workplace this morning, I noticed a huge mess of cars, pickups, and vans all over and around the front of our main building. There were so many they had blocked the entrance, spilled onto the street, and had even filled the employee parking lot in the back. There had to be fifty to seventy five vehicles parked into every square inch of a thirty five space parking lot. When I finally squeezed the F-150 into/onto a pile of snow in the back of our lot, I walked into the building and found out the reason for the congestion: The Way Station's monthly food giveaway.

Now..... I've been involved in a lot of ministry/charity/outreach stuff in my life. I've given away blankets to homeless people in New York City. I've organized food drives. I've served food at a soup kitchen/homeless shelter. Ell and I even spent this past Thanksgiving with people from Youngstown who didn't have family or food to spare. I say none of that for praise but to lay a background. Despite all of past experiences, the site of all those people this morning blew me away.

So many people who are choosing between medication and food. So many people who are without a job. So many people driving a car they bought in better times that has now become a catch-22 burden. So many people who just don't have the means to survive without someone, somewhere, giving out free food. Grandma's, Grandpa's, Mom's, Dad's, boys and girls. Oh how my heart ached this morning as I passed the people on the way to my office; barely any of them looking me in the eye.

Maybe the sight of those people is hitting especially hard because last night Ell was let go from the Cafe. (The story and my emotions will have to wait because we haven't sorted them yet.) So here we sit... I took a $15k pay cut to assume the CFO position at the Way Station. I was able to do so because God has provided for us over the last year making it possible. But that was only because Ell was working. Now what? Where do we go now? Should I be grabbing a bag of groceries before I leave work today? I'm sure we now qualify.

Of course I jest at the last part. We've been fine before and we'll be fine through this. I have faith in that. But the reality of our situation is now before me. At least for today, Ell and I are needy. What a thought.

I think I'm going to go help with the food giveaway. It's where I need to be right now to get through my emotions. Ell likes to laugh that I wear my emotions on my sleeve; she'd be roaring today as I'm sure I'll cry as I help people gather the food that they will use to feed their families. I am truly blessed. Despite the news of last night, I am truly blessed.


Blogger HennHouse said...

Sometimes, you amaze me.

Love to you both.

And lots of prayer.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Gosh...I'm not sure what to say. I'll pray for the both of you.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Birdie said...

I'm so sorry. We've been there and are periodically through the year since Ken's wages vary. I will be praying.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Melissa Blair said...

I can't imagine working in that type of environment...I don't think I could hold the tears back on a daily basis. What a hero you are to have a job that truly helps people!

2:43 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Wow. I am really sorry Sam.
I had this witty little come back for your comment on my blog. But it doesn't seem quite appropriate now. We will surely be praying for both of you.

6:52 PM  
Blogger *Austin Mommy* said...

Our family had a, "Wow, we're needy" experience yesterday. Maybe I'll blog about it another time. But know that you are not alone in your situation, and we will be praying with you through these times.

7:24 PM  
Blogger GUYK said...

Americans have always taken care of those who truly needed help. There are missions and food banks all over the country and there are millions of us who support such organizations as the Starvation Army and other charities that take care of those who cannot...or in many cases will not...not take care of themselves.

But there are also millions of us who support these charities who resent being forced by government to support those who will not support themselves.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

As always, I appreciate your wisdom, Guy. I wish "all" human beings would have the sense and honor to "want" to take care of their fellow human, then we wouldn't have to be forced into it. But I guess if everyone had sense and honor there wouldn't be very many people in need of the help in the first place. Man, what a crazy world we live in.

I know one thing, I'm honored to work for a place that exists for nothing else but to help those in need. It was truly a vision of compassion as I watched people helping people yesterday. Helping not because they had to, but because they wanted to. How beautiful.

4:08 PM  
Blogger vic said...

I am thankful you're there. That pastor/banker mix you have makes you well suited to the task.

Thanks for sharing your heart.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Birdie said...

Welcome to The Way Station, keep your arms and legs in the car at all times. It's going to be a wild ride. Whoo hoo!

10:40 PM  

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