Frigid temps and kindness pondered

It’s horribly, terribly, ridiculously stuuuuuuuuuuuuuuupid cold!!!!

And I’ve written out a small post on my thoughts tonight!

Please click over to  http://www.chicagonow.com/bittersweet/2013/01/oh-man-its-cold/

And please like, click and share and let me know you visited the Bittersweet site!

Until next time……..

Mother and child on a cold Christmas Eve

I know I usually write once a week on Sunday or Monday, but I have this unwavering nagging in my heart. And I am filled with worry and sadness.

Remember the post I wrote a few weeks back about helping out someone this Christmas season with money?

Well, on Christmas Eve my family and I stopped in at a homeless shelter in Elgin Illinois on our way to the big Christmas Eve celebration with our family.  It was a typical cold and gray Chicago winter day.

I let my mind be free and did not have a real plan as we drove there as to how I’d find the person to help with new warm socks and $100 I had in my pocket. I just wanted to be in the moment and let the Holy Spirit guide me. I prayed before I went there. I asked God to lead me to the person who would most need a little extra help on that day. Well truth is, obviously, if they are eating at a homeless shelter on Christmas Eve they all need help. I prayed that God would lead me to the person who would use the money  in the best way for themselves.

Now, walking into the shelter there were quite a few men and women, different races and ages. All homeless. Then something, some energy, some supernatural source outside of my control led me to this beautiful little toddler  and her mom. (IVE DELETED THEIR NAMES TO PROTECT THEM).

I knelt down and talked to the mom and her beautiful, big blue eyed, light blonde  haired baby girl. She oozed sweetness.  Mom had her all dressed up in a little Christmas dress, red ruffle socks, she looked all ready for Santa Clause. They were eating a desert of pumpkin pie. Mom looked tired and weary, but it showed that with the obvious little she had, she took great care of her  baby girl, likely the only person in this whole world who gives her real, true, selfless love.

I commented on how pretty her girl was and asked how they were doing. I asked where they would sleep that night and the mom said they stay overnight in the shelter.

I asked her if I could do something for her and her daughter, if I could give them something. The mom looked at me a little suspicious. From my coat pocket I pulled out the new warm pair of fuzzy socks with $100 wrapped up in them. I opened up the socks just enough for her to see the $20 bills and said “I want to give this to you for you and your baby.” She was stunned. She said “This is so unexpected”, “I don’t know what possessed you this morning when you woke up to do this, but thank you, God Bless you.”

I really didn’t want her to feel bad and told her that we all need help sometimes and I was happy to help her and I hope it helps her and her baby.

We talked some more, she said she had been homeless for 4 months, she had been living with a boyfriend, the child’s dad, but he was abusive. She also said she has family in the area but that they were not an option to stay with. I asked what her plans were. I asked if she was looking for work, a place to live, she said all of the above.

I know they have to leave the shelter at 4 p.m. and then can return at 7 p.m. so I asked where do they go in those cold three hours. She said sometimes they’d go to the library.

Her baby started crying because she wanted the new socks her mom was holding onto in her tight grip. So now I felt bad, making her mom stress over her now crying baby. So, I gave the baby my gold necklace. This baby lit up, so happy!

Then I got a bit nervous, someone might notice me giving her money and put her in danger somehow. So I hugged her and her baby, said “Merry Christmas, God bless you.”

The baby followed us out toward the door……Mom came and got her and we said good-bye.

They went back to their pumpkin pie and I left and got into a nice, warm car, with my family and we all went to a wonderful Christmas party with loads of food, goodies and presents and lots and lots of love and laughter.

But I thought about the mother and her child, and where they were. And where were they the next night, the next night and where are they tonight? Are they safe? Are they warm?

I feel kind of guilty. My girls and I, even my dogs and cat, are warm and safe in our beds and we have a ton of  good food at our disposal.

Now what?

What do I do?

Did I help her or did I make things worse for her? Will she find a warm, safe, soft place for her and her baby to call home?

On Christmas Day, my daughter, Emily, and I went to see Les Miserables. There is a scene where a man rescues a fragile, tired woman living in the streets and trying to make money to care for her baby daughter. He picks her up just as she is about to collapse, he holds her tight and he says “rest.”

I pray someone gives this mother and child rest.

Please pray for them and all the other homeless people out in the cold tonight.

Love each other.

Baby, it’s cold outside!

Oh it’s cold today!

I took the dogs for a walk and felt the chill deep into my bones. My little pup Minnie was shivering as the wind nearly blew her off her tiny paws. 

As I sit here now warming up under a big fuzzy blanket on my couch, sheltered from the wind I hear screeching outside my windows, I wonder about those who cannot escape the chill today or the cold winter about to visit here in the Midwest.

This change in the weather makes me think about those who will sleep on the streets tonight, or seek shelter in the woods, along the rivers and railroad tracks, in a box, or in a dirty alley. 

I’m certain that when these people, finding themselves down on their luck today, were little kids they never said: “When I grow up I’m going to be homeless!”

No, I’m sure that they like all of us, had dreams that somehow became sidetracked. Many likely have just recently found themselves homeless, due to a job loss, the downturn in our economy, a natural disaster, an illness, a death, an addiction, a mental affliction. Something certainly unplanned and undeserved.

We cannot judge those we see on the street asking us for money. We have not walked in their shoes. We have no idea what led them to their grim circumstances. I believe that we are all just a paycheck or 2 or 3 away from where they sit.

So I have a plan. I have $100 and I am going to find one person I can help out. I will give it to that one person and ask only that they use it to help themselves in a positive way and then when they are able, pay it forward. I know it is so cliche’, we have all seen the movie by now, and it has been done or said a zillion times. But this is MY first time saying it and committing to do it. 

I’d love for you all to join me in this “Project of Goodness” and report back. Tell me what you did with $100 to help another human being, a stranger in need.

Because I believe we are all connected, and we all owe it to each other to look out for one another and step up when we see the need. Now, I know I can’t help everyone, and $100 is not a ton of money, but it is what I can afford to take from my family. And I hope I find that one person to help who will make the right choice with the $100. 

I don’t have a lot, but I have more than that daughter, son, aunt, uncle, mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, or US Veteran sleeping out in the cold, night air tonight.

Please join me in this and let me know your story! I know it will be fun and inspiring for everyone.  If you cannot part with $100, do what you can. Let’s agree to report back here by Jan. 1, 2013. Or you can email me at ermarr@comcast.net or Facebook me! 

Share, like, comment and happy hunting!