It’s always around this time of year when I find myself remembering holidays of the past and I remind myself just how lucky and grateful that I am.
I have three healthy children, a place to live, clothes to wear, and food to eat. But there have been times in my life when I couldn’t say all of these things so being able to stand on my own and support myself and my youngest now is truly a blessing.
Recently my daughter’s Girl Scout troop had the chance to help out at a Church foodbank which was very rewarding for the young girls ranging in age from 8-11. They came back and told the troop that they were surprised to find many people dressed like us (parents), not in a poor hygiene manner with torn clothes or missing teeth which was the picture that most of them thought about when they thought of someone needing food.
That’s when I wanted to speak up, but I was afraid to embarrass my 9 year old daughter. Besides several of the mothers in the group already knew that I had gone through a rough time three years ago and because of illness I was not able to work. While I was on Family Medical Leave Act, unfortunately it did not pay for very much and just trying to keep the electricity on was a feat that was almost undoable. Then my landlord gave us notice that we had to move. All in mid October just before the holidays.
My daughter and I had become one of those families that couldn’t afford a turkey dinner let alone trying to figure out where we were going to live.
I can tell you that it was only by the grace of God that we made it through the situation. We had friends that stepped in and each gave us a little something even something so simple to a $5.00 bill that they had on them to food that they had extra in thier cupboards. I can tell you that when it was all added up it was such a large amount that we were able to get into a new place and in addition a Christmas angel gave presents for my daughter’s Christmas. I don’t think to this day my daughter really knows how bad off we were financially, but it was a rough time and not one of my proudest that is for sure.
Now when my boys were little we had nothing and expected nothing, but we had family and were happy being with them on the holidays. Once that is gone, I think people tend to look for other things such as material things to make themselves happy especially as you climb the corporate ladder. It is usually not the answer and I have truly found that prayer and leading a good life, trying to help others has made good things come my way. By the way when I was younger, people would tell me to pray and find a good church but I was always cautious and couldn’t figure out how that was going to help me. I was sure that people just didn’t understand the situation.
Now that we are back on our feet again, I always make sure to give to any food drive that we come upon whether it is school, church, or girl Scouts because you never know if that person sitting next to you today could be the person standing in line for help tomorrow. We come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life, some with jobs, some without.
So at this time of the year, let us take a moment to pause and think of how grateful we are, where we have come from, where we are going, and remember that it is only by the Grace of God that we have what we have.