It is currently seventeen degrees Fahrenheit outside, and I suspect it feels much colder than that when the wind blows. I’m sitting in front of a little space heater providing comfort for my tired feet. My family is sleeping in our warm home. The hot coffee warms my body. The electric light is dim, yet it provides a nice ambiance for early morning.
Somewhere outside, a man has been up the entire night after failing to find a place warm enough to sleep. His feet are frozen. He hasn’t had a hot cup of coffee in ten days. Years ago, his wife and two children were killed in an automobile accident. The only light that he sees comes from the lamppost above his cubby between buildings. He lies in filth. His heart is shattered. This morning will bring another day of scrounging for handouts and wasted food in the garbage cans.
There is not a day that goes by within my life where the things that I have are taken for granted. A time, many years ago, I walked the streets of the city and felt the presence of a cold emptiness. I was not homeless, but I was hollow. I had no money. I had few things of my own. I was alone. When I see the man on the corner, I cannot think that he is just a lazy bum. Many people are unfortunately, but that is not always the way they see themselves. Many are mentally distraught. Completely lost. Some are just down to the bottom because of the cards that have played from the hand they were dealt. We can never know exactly what led them to that place. Just seeing the pain within my own life and remembering how much anguish it had provided gives me clear reason to give. No questions need to be asked, the gift just needs to be given.
Look around at what you have. Can you imagine having nothing but a thin coat, pants, some cheap shoes with no socks underneath? Can you imagine tucking yourself in a box, trying desperately to keep a contained warmth so your core does not reach a threatening low? Can you imagine eating what someone else had thrown in the garbage, three days ago?
‘Have mercy on us, dear Lord. We are so blind to our comforts. We fail to see what you provide. Forgive us, Lord.’
May we never take our lives for granted. It could ALL be lost tomorrow. Each day of life is a blessing, as well as all things in it. If we could only see the things that He has blessed us with instead of only seeing what we lack, maybe then we could know what a true blessing it is to have anything at all.