I walked into my fourth parent meeting of the day. I hate meetings. It’s my least favorite part of the job. But, there are these rare moments when a meeting with a parent turns into an opportunity for God’s glory...a moment for our humanity to be shaped more into the likeness of God. I do love those moments. After all, the currency of God’s Kingdom is humanity.
I walk in, sit down, and introduce myself to the parent...grandparent actually. “Good morning, I am Mr. Walker.” The reply, “I know who you are. You are the guy that runs the food bank.” It’s not my favorite name, but I will take an association of any kind. Truth is, I am not the guy that runs House of the Harvest. There is a guy that does. It’s not me. That guy is way more wise, loving, and compassionate than me. He is teaching me how to run it, has been since day one. He is teaching me how to do life on this Earth every day. And praise His name, because the longer I live, the more I see how much I lack without Him. I think He said it best actually, “...apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Back to that meeting. We carry on. She doesn’t have much to say through the process of the meeting. I can tell she is somewhat confused, unsure of herself, uncomfortable. It seems pretty clear there is a lot of information being given and little being received. This is the part I hate. It’s 100% procedural and I question what we are accomplishing. I am more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy though. I like to stick to the basics. I try to live my life that way. Jesus simplified life all the way down to love God and love others. Not too complicated. What if we all learned to do those two things uncharacteristically well? Meat and potatoes.
Grandmother opens up a little when talking about her grandson. Even manages to let a little smile show behind the discomfort. At the conclusion of the meeting, I ask her some more questions. “How many kids are with you? How are they doing at home? Do you need anything? How can I help?”
I love to watch people’s story unfold. I learn so much about life. Grandmother. Raising three grandchildren with the help of her husband. All three children with special needs. Works fast food… in fact, she has worked fast food for the last 28 years. I can’t even imagine what that life is like. One day, I pray God blesses me with the opportunity to be a grandfather. We never know what tomorrow holds, but it isn’t in my plans to raise grandchildren. Or to work fast food...any day. But definitely not in my 60s. Husband is retired from working for Huntsville city for thirty years. Another job most of us wouldn’t want.
I ask her, “Have you been to House of the Harvest lately?” She replies, “Can’t come anymore. I work on Saturdays until 12:00.” Thanksgiving is on the horizon. “Do you have food for Thanksgiving?” The reply, “No sir.” I answer, “I will bring you a meal for you and the kids. Meet you at work at noon.” She answers in her soft, slightly more comfortable voice, “Thank you so much.”
I walk away as God speaks to me, “You should thank her. They are the heroes. They do what you don’t want to do one day, everyday.” I turn back to Grandmother, “Thank y’all for loving those kids,” and walk away. “Thank you Father, for teaching me more about Your heart for humanity. Continue to open the eyes of my heart.”
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:9-10