Sunday, January 24, 2010

Out of the Ashes

Something inside of me happens when I prepare food for the homeless.  I find myself wondering if they are going to like iit and I do all I can to make a meal for them that warms their belly, warms their heart and fuels them for a few days.

 

Today was no exception.  Earlier on in the week I had committed to making dessert for 125 people and spent most of Saturday night and the early part of this morning preparing it.  I get a sense of satisfaction out of giving to others and with Ben deployed it fills up the time for me in a way that is beyond measurement.  The separation has been difficult for me to contend with sometimes and I will confess I have struggled with periodic bouts of depression.

 

My golden retriever Sara almost wouldn’t let me out the front door.  She has begun to connect large quantities of food I take out the door with going to the park and she was not about to let me leave without her.  So I hooked her to her leash and took her with me.  She has become a tool I use to reach out to the homeless, since her friendly demeanor and constant demands for affection prove too irresistible to the average person and it opens the doorway for communication with them.

 

As the homeless cycle through the food line, I like to stand a few feet down from the food tables and try to greet each person with a warm smile and friendly hello.  Well into the time of serving, I noticed a couple standing in line for a second helping of food.  I started talking to them and found out their names were Todd and Tammy.  Two weeks ago they had lost everything and had been living on the streets.  She told me that our food was the best meal they ate every week and with tears streaming down her face she conveyed to me how hungry she was and how mad at God she was for having to go through this.  I gave her the biggest hug because at that point I didn’t know what to say.

 

What do you tell somebody who has lost everything, used to have faith in God and now feels abandoned by Him?  She is hurting badly.  Even though I know God is in control of the situation, I almost feel as though I would patronize the situation by relaying that to her.  So instead,  I told her that I enjoyed making the food for them and that it was prayed over each week.  I also told her that I would be praying for her and her situation. 

 

I believe the answer lies in relationship.  Regardless of the tragedy, the pain or the hardship in life, I do know that God wakes people up to serve or be served. I have seen that In the midst of tragedy He does his best work restoring lives and mending hearts.  Tammy may not understand all that she is going through right now, but I do know that having crossed her path I am challenged to stay consistently focused in reaching out to those God is restoring and to pray for their freedom.  She may not see it now, but out of the rubble of tragedy and the ashes of despair, the tapestry of her life is being woven out of the fibers of her experiences.

 

So I leave you with this.  How are you weaving the fibers of your life?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

You Know You're An Army Wife

You know you're an Army wife when...

...you can unpack a house and have everything in place in 48 hours
...you string Constantina wire to keep the neighbor's kids out of your flower beds
...your husband's work and dress clothes cost more than yours do
...you've changed more oil and mowed more lawns than your husband because he's never there to do it himself
...you use a crook-neck flashlight with a red lens during power outages because it's the only one you can ever find in the house
...your children say "hooah" or "roger that" instead of "ok"
...you know that it's normal to light shoe polish on fire and that the best way to spit-shine boots is with cotton balls
...your husband does a route recon and takes a GPS for a trip to the mall
...you only write in pencil because EVERYTHING is subject to change
...you need a translator to talk to your civilian friends, only because they have no idea what DFAS, AER, TDY, ACS, NPD, PCS, and ETS mean
...you have a larger selection of curtains than Walmart does
...you can remember where you kept the Scotch tape in your last house, but unfortunately, not in this one
...you mark time in duty stations, not years
...you refer to friends not only by name but by the state that they live in
...you know that "back home" doesn't mean at the house you live in now
...you tear up when you hear "Proud to Be An American," even though you've heard it 50 times by now
...you know that a 2 month separation IS short, no matter what your civilian friends say
...you ALWAYS know when payday is and get ticked off if there are more than 2 weekends during that pay period
...you know better than to go to the PX or commissary between 11:30 and 13:00 unless it's a life or death emergency
...you show your military ID to the greeter at Walmart
...you know that any reference to "sand" or a "box" describes NTC at Ft. Irwin, not your kid's backyard toys
...you know that "Ft. Puke" is a completely accurate description of Ft. Polk
...you find yourself explaining your husband's LES to him
...you have enough camouflage in your house to wallpaper the White House
...you don't have to think about what time 21:30 is
...you've ever been referred to as "Household 6"
...you're the TC, not a backseat driver
...you start ripping open MREs and looking for the M&Ms when you run out of Halloween candy

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