Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Blessed Beyond Belief

The candles were lit and the steam rising off the water glistened on the bubbles that floated on its surface. The windows that line the wall beside the tub in my master bath were cranked open and I exhaled in delight as I slid into the water for a relaxing bath last night. The cold breeze blew in through the window and I felt every care, every worry slip away as I watched the steady rain fall from dark, winter-like skies.

And that's when it hit me. Where was Ron at that very moment? For those of you that know me, I'm sure you are wondering who Ron is and why I am thinking about him in the bathtub :) Well....

Ron is a homeless man that lives on the streets of West Nashville. He sells The Contributor as a small source of income. But, for now, he is without shelter. Suddenly, my love of "bad" weather was tempered by concern for my new friend. As I lay in the comfort of a bubble-filled tub of warm water surrounded by candles, Ron was surely braving the elements in a much less appealing way. And the realization of just how blessed I am hit me like a ton of bricks.

Over the past few days, I have had similar experiences that have opened my eyes to the oh-so-comfortable life I lead. I read an article in a back issue of the paper written by a now-homeless woman that sells the paper downtown. She remarked at the professional women that walk by every day and how she remembered wearing the same skirt as a particular passerby. "Turquoise blue with brown and beige flowers, bought at The Dress Barn," she wrote. She then recalled the days of having skin care products and nice-smelling lotions that made her feel pretty and compared that to feeling lucky to have a bar of soap to bathe with now.

And then I thought about the basket. On the closet in my shelf there is a basket. This basket is overflowing with bottles of lotion and body sprays in every scent imaginable. Rarely, if ever, used. Under my sink, there are baskets of skin care products I just "had to have" and pedicure creams, nail polishes, bath salts and hundreds of hotel-sized shampoos, lotions and the like. So, I devised a plan to take those, divide them into little trial size plastic bottles, slap a label on them with the scent and hand them out to the female vendors I meet. If something sitting unused on my shelf can make someone else's day... then it will surely make my day, too.

Then, the most heartbreaking one yet. As I was returning to the church after lunch, I was shielding myself from the steady cold rain. I thought to myself how happy I was I wore my rain boots as I sloshed through puddle after puddle. As I rounded the corner of the church, a man bearing backpack and tennis shoes soaked through asked my coworkers and I if the church had a clothing closet of any kind. We replied "no" and he mentioned that all he was hoping to get was a pair of dry socks to keep his feet warm.


I can't tell you how this is changing me from the inside out. I want to help. I want to contact clothing manufacturers about the endless numbers of reject socks they might be tossing and see if we can somehow distribute those to people like the man I met today. I want to do something to make even the tiniest difference in one person's life.

I am incredibly blessed. How can I do a better job of sharing those blessings with others? I'm not exactly sure, but you can bet I'm gonna figure something out.