October 14, 2013

Day 14: The Valley of One Thousand Rats

One of our more ridiculous experiences from the 31 Days of Kindness last year was the night we tried to bless the homeless.  You can view the full post here, but I'll give you the highlights of the conversation Tom and I had when we couldn't find a homeless person to lavish with our kindnesses.  

L: I don't know, everyone looks homeless.
T: No, he is walking too fast.  The homeless don't have to rush around like that.
L: Just because he is carrying so many plastic bags doesn't mean he is homeless.
T:  Have you ever seen anyone who isn't homeless carry that many bags?
L: Let's just see if that guys needs anything.
T: I'm not just going to assume that someone is homeless, I am not stopping until I am sure.  I need to see someone actually lying on cardboard before I approach them.
L: There are never any homeless people when you need one.
T: I don't know... maybe they cured homelessness.

See.  I told you it was ridiculous.

So, today is my favorite Act of Kindness for this month so far.  Mostly because I believed that it might redeem our relationship with the homeless a little, but also because I think that the homeless and the impoverished are an overlooked and unloved people group that could benefit from everyday kindnesses more than almost anyone else.  Since we are operating on a shoestring budget at the moment, we have tried to get creative with the acts of kindness, but I am so thankful to announce that Day 14 has a generous sponsor!

Today's act of kindness is brought to you by my dear friend, Kathy Blowers, who wanted to donate some money for me to use to bless others during this month.  I was more than happy to put her hard earned dollars to good, kind use!

We used the money to buy warm, second-hand blankets and sleeping bags, then put them in plastic bags to keep them clean and dry.  We placed them in areas of the city that have a higher homeless population with the hope that when the nights get cold, these blankets would be there for someone in need.

I call this one The Valley of One Thousand Rats.  Seriously.  There were like, one thousand, enormous, filthy, steroid-bulked, rats.  I braved the rat-infested grasses in order to provide warmth to the city of Rochester.

Our hope is, ultimately, that someone will stumble upon the blanket but, also, the message that they are noticed, seen and loved.

I started doing 31 Days of Kindness last year because I wanted to focus outside of my own grief, and I wanted to honor my brother's memory by glorifying the God he spent his short life devoted to.  I believe in a God that sees and knows and loves... a God of mercy.  My brother was the type of kid to dance with the shy girl, or stick up for the kid with no real friends, or take the time to sit and talk with his annoying little sister... and those are just some examples of what made my brother so special, but I don't believe that was just "his nature."  I believe that he was showing the fruit of having known and loved the God of mercy.  And when you love and serve the God that sees, it has a way of opening your own eyes to really see.

I think Adam saw.  I think he noticed.  And I think, if he had the chance today, he would walk among a million rats to bring warmth to a weary soul.

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