We had less than an hour to get our donations to the man heading downtown. The temperature tomorrow morning would be one. One degree. I was rushing around, getting the kids to hurry with a clipped explanation as to why they had to get some shoes on pronto. People without places to stay need to stay warm. And we need to help. Get your shoes and gloves on.
Bay walked into my room and said, “Jo doesn’t want to go. She said she doesn’t want to be around the homeless people. She’s crying.”
My heart sank. I was surprised. Aside from the fact that we were only doing a drop off, this wasn’t my Jo. She has a great big heart for redemption and those conventionally considered broken. She prays that people “making bad choices” realize that they can always turn things around. She sees good with wide eyes where I have to squint. This is her spiritual jam. Except today, apparently.
I went to her, ready to…I don’t know what. Talk? Lecture?
But she looked at me and crumpled before I said anything.
“I can’t go. I’m so scared for them. It’s so cold and I’m just really upset and I just want them to be okay and I don’t know if they will.” The last part came out a wail. Oh, sweet girl. I get it now. I feel this so often.
It’s too much and I cannot do enough. I’m paralyzed. I have to look away before my heart just shatters completely and beyond repair. To see it all over my first grader, though. This is the complicated, messy “why” of being God’s hands and feet. This is the question in her eyes that I can’t answer, because a lot of times I just. do. not. know.
God calls us to be cheerful givers. I envision putting your tithe in the plate. When you let your neighbors borrow stuff. It’s just stuff, after all! Cheerful. Easy. But Does He mean where the need is much and we feel so small in the face of the task?
I have to believe He does. If I step away and look at it, I know He doesn’t expect any one of us to do it all on our own. We do our part, we spur one another on. We make our peace with doing as much as we can, so long as we are.
Jo perked up as we went along. When I asked her if she was doing better, she said yes. I asked her why and she said because she knew other people were helping, too, and that we didn’t have to help alone. We even ran into a woman in the store there for the same purpose, and she pulled into the drop off at the same time as us.
Because we aren’t alone. In Spirit or in action. We serve a God who does impossible, extraordinary things through broken, ordinary humans. We just need to trust Him enough to show up and say “Your will be done.” He has healed the lame, He has given sight to the blind, so I know.
He can put our sometimes overwhelmed, paralyzed hearts back in motion.