Friday, May 27, 2011

Thinking, That's All: Generosity

I don't know what it's like to have my hometown ravashed, left in utter shambles by the powerful forces of mother nature. Or what it's like to mourn the loss of my home or worse yet, a loved one.

And I don't know what it's like to avoid driving the streets of my hometown in order to shield little eyes from devastating destruction, images that likely would tatoo themselves on their ever-absorbing minds.

But now?

Because of what's happened in Joplin -- one woman, one heart in a small northern suburb of Chicago has been forever changed.

Still, I wish the Joplin tornado had never happened.

But it did.

And because it did, people came together in a powerful way.

Individuals, friends, big companies, small artisian shops, community members, families, even strangers all banded together to raise money for the people who call Joplin home.

With hope that our small but heartfelt contribution could not only help restore the livlihood of a hurting city but also hope.

With ope that others would come alongside their bruised city and begin the process of healing the wounds.

With hope that others would hold their families in their hearts, lift their needs up in prayer.

And with hope that maybe those prayers for restoration might be answered in an abundance of ways by a very-personal God.

Our small way of helping extend hope has been through an online auction relief effort, and it was inspired by our desire to come along Sarah, one of the Bigger Picture Blogs founders, as well as the Joplin community in the way we feel we've been called to come along side her and her community.

Thus, after a morning of furiously circulating emails and a phone call from Melissa that started with "Maybe we could do something bigger ...", the Help4Joplin Relief Auction was born.


As of this post, we {all of us together -- you and me and people I've never had the privledge of hugging as well as some I have} have raised more than $1400 to send to Joplin.

The generosity shown during this relief effort has filled my heart with such joy, just gladness, such Light. And it's brought me to grateful tears several times.

I hope it's done the same for Sarah and her family.

Some say it's unclear whether Joplin will ever recover.

The news reports have been grim.

But as I said before, I believe in a Light that shines in the darkness, and that the darkness can never extinguish it*.

And that makes me I wonder, really wonder, if each small, meaningful effort, packed with heart and soul and love -- like ours or this one or this one or this one -- could actually help.

If each of us who felt a pang in our hearts when we heard the news reports visibly sprang to some sort of small action -- if the collective we could actually help Joplin not just recover but recover stronger, more mightily.

And if those efforts, those tiny steps of action, could actually change more than just the future of Joplin or any other place that takes the spotlight after disaster.

I wonder if it could change a whole community of hearts -- one {stay-at-home mom in a small northern suburb of Chicago} at a time.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does." - Margaret Mead

The Help4Joplin Relief Auction ends tomorrow morning at 9. If you have that stirring in your heart, please consider making a direct donation or bidding on one of the generously donated items.

Note: Jamie from Lyrical Journey is the winner of the coffee cozy from A Soft Landing and the $25 Starbucks gift card; I know, Jamie, that you {or anyone for that matter} didn't blog about the auction to win anything, but it's my way of saying thanks anyway for being the mouth that moblizes the hands and feet.

*John 1:5