Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bigger Picture Moment: Hope*

Welcome to Bigger Picture Moments, where we breathe in the moments of life that show us a glimpse of the grander scheme, no matter how big or small.

Bigger Picture Moment

Next week, Melissa is hosting, so be sure to take note of your moments during the coming week and share next Thursday.

"He said: I am but one small instrument. Do you remember that?"
-- Jimmy Eat World, Goodbye Sky Harbor

It must have been a particularly hard year for a single mom raising two little girls.

I don't remember much, but I remember dumping out the change bank my mom had so we could buy a gallon of milk at the store.

And I remember eating dinner at my grandparent's house quite often.

I don't think I realized quite the hard line my mom was towing, though, until a chilly night in December just before Christmas.

I heard knocking on the door.

I remember a blur of coats, hats, gloves and scarves decorating our pastor's body as well as his wife's swift hands unloading boxes of food onto our counters and into the refrigerator. I remember grateful words, embraces of thankfulness and a genuine spirit of love. And I remember warmth enveloping me and relief swelling inside my concerned heart.

But I don't remember much else -- what was in the boxes or how many boxes they brought or specific words. I just remember feeling cared for and safe and secure when they set those gifts -- those boxes packed with food -- on the table.

As I've been thinking about how John and I can make our Thanksgiving celebration more than just a time of a feasting and expressing knee-deep gratitude, my mind has gone back to that night when I was a little girl in grade school.

I often call it my sticky-chewing gum moment because just like a piece of sticky chewing gum sticks on the sole of your shoe and reminds you its there with every step, this moment has stuck with me.

My mom and I talk about that night every so often.

She always says she doesn't remember us being that poor, having that little.

Last time we spoke about that evening, she reminded me about what we did with half of the food in that box.

We took it to her friend, a single mom of two little girls, as well.

My mom recalled thinking, "Now, Hope*, she's really in a tight place. She really needs some of this."

My mom reminded me of this to illustrate her point that we still had more than some people and we were not on the verge of starving to death.

However, the image of her selfless giving, her understanding that God always, continually provides, it sparks a little fire inside of my mind, burning slowing.

I shared the full story of this memory aloud the first time tonight with people other than my mom -- including the part about my mom giving half of the food to Hope and her girls.

And that tiny little fire, lit inside of my brain months during the latest conversation with my mom a few months ago turns into a burning flame.

And I know.

I just know how we're going to make this Thanksgiving a true time of worship, a true time of gratitude, a true time of serving.

Because even though it's been nearly 20 years after these little little, shaping moments happened, I know there is another Hope out there now. I know she's struggling. I know we can help in the very temporary sense of the word as well as the long-term.

While I know a box packed with a Thanksgiving dinner will only provide a couple of meals, and perhaps buying the food for the dinner and taking the meal to that family may not even leave an impression on my boys' hearts right now because we give out of abundance, I also know there's a chance that such a tiny moment might become the sticky chewing gum on the bottom of some other little one's soul.

I know I am but one small instrument, John is another and G is yet another and Baby E is yet another.

And perhaps that's the best way to impress on their hearts during our season of Thanksgiving -- that, together, in our gratitude, we form a symphony.

*Name changed for annonymity

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  1. Oh Hyacynth... I'm a big puddle of mush and tears right now.
    Such a good sticky chewing gum moment...

  2. It's memories like these that help form the people we are now. Here you learned never to take things for granted and you truly understand the power of kindness and compassion, and it will be something you will pass on to your children, the way your mom has passed on her fortitude and faith to you.

  3. Oh wow...what a beautiful moment. Thank you so much for sharing...I needed to be reminded of all the blessings I have. Also, I've been wondering how to make our Christmas this year less about me, me, me and more about giving to those in need. You have helped light that fire in me too.

  4. Thank you for sharing such a touching story. I'm glad you are working to incorporate sincerely giving thanks on Thanksgiving.

    It's too often that it doesn't feel like people are grateful for what they have and what others do not.

  5. That is what the holidays are supposed to be about. Being a blessing to others because of the blessing you yourself have received. What a powerful memory, and testimony.

  6. I'm so hormonal I think I was crying at the first paragraph.

    It will stick with your kids. My kids have now learned whenever they have something that doesn't fit or they don't play with we give it to "someone who needs it". They love picking families off the giving tree at school. It may be small and you may not see it now but you are leaving an impression of giving on their heart that is important.

  7. a reminder of how much I want to teach my kids this giving out of abundance and even when there isn't there is so much to give.

  8. I really loved reading about this moment and how it's stayed with you for so long. What a wonderful affirmation that the kindnesses we show matter and that small sacrifices we make now can make such a lasting difference in the future. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. Hyacynth! Your sticky chewing gum moment was magical. And you are so very right we ALL form a symphony.

    It has to stick with your kids. We all learn by example. Compassion is a gift.

    My, you have a shining beautiful soul. It is reflected in deed and in word. May you be a beacon for your little men.

  10. Every year I struggle with this - how to make it mean more. How to make it stick. Your words are an inspiration, and a reminder that we truly must think beyond ourselves. So lovely!


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