Joyful Service

Jean’s Journal – December 23, 2019

Part 1

To say it was an extraordinary day is an understatement. For the energy that filled and surrounded me as I walked through it was one of joyful service.  You know, it’s that feeling you get when you know that you are doing something really good for someone else?  Well, it aligns you with a higher power and a sort of cosmic cooperation occurs. It is the best feeling in the world! Well, today was one of those. 

It began when my friend Shellie told me about a homeless woman and her two boys who had fled a bad family situation in Alabama.  She knows of my great network of friends and colleagues, as we have worked together in the past to help someone in need.

I got to work on an email and Facebook post to enlist the aid of these great folks.  AS it is the day before Christmas Eve, we had to move fast.  Shellie wanted to be able to provide them a wonderful Christmas complete with Santa and we only had til 5pm to make it happen. 

I immediately began getting offers of assistance from people all around town.  Shellie, Melissa and Andy were busy collecting, shopping and wrapping as well! People began sending me money through Cash App and I ran to the bank so that I could cover those deposits with cash.  I had to run to our Medco office in Orange Park to take care of some business and on the way met another wonderful friend at CVS to collect a gift card she had purchased.  When I got to Medco, there was a card with a donation waiting for me as well!

I was on my way back to Jacksonville when I got a call from Brooks.  They needed me to deliver some things to them from the Medco office.  For a moment I panicked, but then just took a breath and asked God to help me get everything done that I needed to do before 5pm.  I quickly exited on Old St Augustine Road so that I could turn around and go back to Medco (in Orange Park.)  Just at that time, I received a text from my friend Julie saying that she would like to make a donation.  I just laughed in amazement.  Julie was calling from her office on Old St Augustine Rd.  The detour I had made put me right on her street.  God is so amazing! 

I was at Julie’s door in minutes.  She was so excited as she told me how that very morning, she had realized that she had not yet made a charitable donation this Christmas as she and her husband usually did at this time of year.  She wondered, should she stop at a church to see if they had someone in need that she could help.  She silently asked God to guide her. Julie explained that she rarely looks at Facebook during the day but while on break today she had and that is when she saw my plea for help.  Wow!  Talk about divine guidance!

I made a quick stop and filled a huge gift bag full of laundry detergent, dryer sheets, paper plates, bowls, napkins, cutlery, various toiletries, Christmas candy and a tin of popcorn.  Kids need candy at Christmas to be sure!

Well 5 o’clock came and I arrived at their hotel with our gifts and $500.00 cash!  Our plan had been to go to the office and pay up her hotel as far as we could.  Upon seeing the condition of the place, my heart sank.  My first thought was, oh my God, we have got to get them out of here! We all convened in the front parking lot then went to their room at the back of the hotel. I must admit to being nervous about the surroundings and yet I knew that God had been orchestrating things so far, certainly he would not let anything happen to us now. 

Lucretia and the boys came down the outside stairs to greet us.  They were excited yet very respectful as introductions were made.  Then we all set to work carrying the many bags and boxes to their room.  Michelle had brought a folding table and all of the packages were neatly arranged upon it.  As the boys looked over the stack of gifts, we all stepped outside with mom.  We wanted to let her know that we had some cash to pay on her hotel and yet we first wanted to ask her if she would like us to help her find better accommodations elsewhere.  She explained to us that it was not easy to find a place that she could afford and that she did not want to uproot the boys again until she could move them into an apartment or rental home.  

I really loved and admired this small statured young woman.  She smiled and was so grateful for the help we brought to her through the kindness and generosity of strangers.  She carried a quiet strength in that slight frame.  Small but not weak, that is for sure.  She spoke of her faith that God was in control and that everything was going to work out just fine.  This didn’t mean that she was going to rely on others to take care of her but that she was going to work and move forward one step at a time toward a better situation for her and her boys.

After leaving mom and the boys, we all stopped at the office  and paid for their lodging for the next two weeks.  It’s a shame how much even a bad hotel will charge someone who has few options.

I drove off feeling warm and wonderful about the help we were able to provide, the joy of toys, clothes and shoes for the boys as well as some wonderful gifts for mom.  There was also a small lit tree and a Christmas dinner from Cracker Barrel upon which they would feast.  Right alongside of this happiness rested a feeling of great sadness that we had to leave this sweet little family in such surroundings. I could not help but be grateful that I was not leaving my daughter and grandchildren in this place.  But “they” are all our daughters and grandchildren in the eyes of God aren’t they? We are all one in his eyes.  We are all a part of that Divine Spark. I drove home in a slurry of emotions.    I arrived home feeling joyful and yet somewhat incomplete.  Unfinished business.

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