Using the gifts you have despite the challenges you face

Funny how a lot of things come full circle. I started writing blog posts for an online paper called ‘The Patch’ a few years back. One of the first stories I did was about a lady who was a regular visitor to the local coffee shop in the village I was working in. It has been two years since the post office has seen fit to move me to a different location. This past Saturday I was filling in at that very station again. I decided to stop by the coffee shop to see a good friend of mine who usually works there on Saturdays. Turns out she was off, but I did run into the very lady I had written a post about two years ago. If you did not follow me a few years ago let me recap the story of this lady and if you did let me update you on where life finds her at this time. Her name is Michelle. She is a middle aged woman of a smaller stature. She is a mentally challenged individual who does not drive, is unable to hold down a “real job”. She lived with her parents as she was unable to survive on her own. Every day I would see her walking up and down the streets of the little village whether the temperature was 90 degrees or 9 degrees. Finally one day our paths crossed while I was on lunch and I asked her what she was doing walking up and down the streets. Her answer was simple, yet powerful and blew me away. “Looking for people who need help” she told me. I must have had a look that bordered between surprise and confusion. Sensing I wasn’t totally grasping what she meant she went on to explain. “I know I am not the smartest person in the world, but God has given me the mission of helping people” She went on to explain that when she finds someone who is down on her luck she will sit and pray with them. Knowing how uncomfortable that can make some people I asked her if anyone had ever objected and if so what did she do. She said some people tell her to leave them alone or that they are not interested. She told me she then continues on and as she does prays for them. As she explained to me “they don’t have to know I am praying for them to have it help them”. I couldn’t help but thinking if I offered somebody emotional support and they told me to leave them alone would my first reaction be to pray for them? She left me by saying a prayer for me right there in the coffee shop. Although her faith and mine are not exactly the same I was struck by the power of her faith and her public display of it as well as her love of her fellow humans on this planet. So here I was two years later and I asked her what was new in her world. She explained to me that her parents had passed away and she had to move to a different city with a caregiver. She informed me that she had joined a new church in that area and volunteered in several different groups. She also said that at least twice a month she had her caregiver drop her off in that same village so she could “check on everyone” I was struck by a few points here. This lady is somebody that our society has deemed unfit to even hold a job, much less live on their own. She is faced with daily challenges I cannot even begin to imagine. If she were to fall on a path of drug abuse or homelessness nobody could blame her. Still this woman who some would say was barely able to help herself has devoted her life to helping others in any way she can. Do the rest of us follow the same path or do we complain about every little thing that is not going according to plan in our lives?  This week it is time to look for opportunities to help others. To make a difference. If a middle-aged woman with limited means and mental ability can use her amazingly large heart to bring such an amazing difference why can’t you and I?

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