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I couldn't handle it Sunday, especially after her message. I fought it, pushed it out of my head and heart. Re-focused, yet it kept returning, making my heart churn faster and faster. In the Quaker tradition that usually means you have a vocal message you're meant to share in worship. So, up I stood. Struggling, even telling other worshippers I didn't want to do this.
I talked about Dorrian's family of seven. Mom, dad and five kids ages four to 6th grade. They live in a teeny house between a church and my best friend, just down the block from me. The kids are always outside playing ... no room inside, it seems. Lately, I've been seeing Dorrian and his younger brother on bikes all over the neighborhood probably getting off on their own. Often dad's with the younger ones. He's the caregiver.
I'd never seen mom until last Thursday, when I made a personal visit to ensure Dorrian got to Artsy Fartsy Saturday. There was a mix up last month and he'd forgotten. Mom opened the door and warmly welcomed me inside. She hugged me and thanked me for taking an interest in her oldest. "He forgot and went off to play last month," she confessed. "When he got back, he cried because he'd missed it. You know he has such beautiful writing, this will be so good for him. So does my son Dalton." Dalton pretends to be mad at me when I see him with Dorrian. It's because he's too young for Artsy Fartsy and keeps trying to charm his way in. I tell him he has to wait, but each smile he flashes chips away at my resolve.
Then mom pointed to another son, playing games and confided that he's on an IEP (individualized-education plan) at school for learning disabilities. She's battled leukemia for 13 years and through all the pregnancies. The only one she struggled with was his. I think she blames the chemo. She whispered so as not to get his attention. Then she looked me square in the eye, though her tone was conversational and casual, and said "we really need a computer. It would make such a difference for him."
I immediately recognized this as God speaking to me through this woman. Getting this family a computer has been on my heart two years. It gained momentum when I reconnected through Dorrian, a great kid with loads of potential.
I'd recommended this family to my Quaker Meeting as needing financial help this Christmas, though I really wanted to get them a computer. Over the years, when I have vocalized this concern, I am often kindly reminded that refurbished or used computers are easy to find.
My hearts silently screams: "But why can't they have new, like everybody else? Why does this family with very little and only what the mother's assistance check can supply, have to get castoffs?
All weekend, I plotted in my head what I wanted for them: a new iMac, two years of internet (because, frankly, what's the use of a computer these days without it?), printer, cache of ink and technical assistance. About three grand, I figured.
I didn't share my financial noodling with my Meeting when I spoke. I wasn't asking for anything, just releasing what had a tight grip on me and requesting prayer. Unlike anything I have ever experienced in Quaker worship before, someone tossed cash in the collection plate and it made the rounds, landing at me. I could barely bring myself to touch the wooden bowl overflowing with money ... let alone count it. Someone else did and, in a matter of minutes, about 20-some people donated $500. Noting short of amazing.
Yesterday, a neighbor brought me a $100 Best Buy gift card. There's a printer, I thought.
Just as I wanted others to release their idea of used goods for this family, I am releasing mine of the perfect scenario. I have a feeling I will know when the collecting is finished (I'm not putting a Christmas deadline on it) and am confident there will be enough to purchase whatever this family is supposed to have.
Spirit is moving and I best get myself out of the way!
• When has Spirit pushed me to speak or act?
• What happened when I resisted?
• When I surrendered?
• How was the result better than I ever could have imagined?
• What have I learned as a result?