Today was a good day.
Today was the service project for The Ite Project (if you want to find out more about the Ite Project go to the website, yes, there IS a website, at theiteproject.com). Today, 11 of us met at a local walmart to shop for a family in dire need of basic necessities.
The father's hours got cut. The mother has a chronic condition that prohibits her from working. They are BARELY making enough to pay the bills. The story of this family really hit home with me. It resonated in my soul.
Now, a lot of you are probably going to be like some people I know, you are a middle class white girl who has never known financial strife. Why do you think you are able to say that this "hit home" with you?
Number one, never, never, NEVER judge a book by it's cover. Don't do it. You don't know a thing about me or my struggles, so please stop pretending you do.
But this story resonated for a very different reason.
Approximately sixty years ago, a family was struggling much the same way this one was. The father had just lost his job and was about to be kicked out of the house. They were using what little savings they had to pay for basic needs, such as groceries and such and could not afford a new home.
And what's worse, he had 8 other mouths to feed and another one on the way.
It was not long before he would be forced onto the street with his children. So he goes to his local parish pastor.
(DISCLAIMER: I do not know the specifics. So this is a generalization of the conversation that I heard through word of mouth. But the story goes something like this.)
"Father, would it be alright if my wife and I employed the rhythm method?"
(SIDENOTE: The rhythm method was basically NFP in the 50s.)
"My son, who put shoes on your children's feet?"
"Well, Father, God provided me the means to put shoes on their feet."
"So you are telling me, that you don't believe that the same God who provided you shoes for your children's feet won't provide a roof for their heads or food for the bellies?"
That man walked away from that conversation with something greater than food and shelter. He walked away with hope.
When a friend heard of their predicament, he provided very low rent housing for him and his family. That man then took that courage and hope offered through the simple act of kindness of his fellow man and let it blossom. He started his own business.
After his daughter was born, he went on to have another son. That son was my father.
If it had been any other priest. If his friend had not heard about his predicament. If he hadn't had the courage to forge ahead in a risky entrepreneurial endeavor. If. If. If. I might never have been born.
Don't underestimate the power of hope. It weakened the White Witch's power (Chronicles of Narnia). It destroyed the Soviet Union. It can get you through any situation or any predicament.
A holocaust survivor once described his experience in the work camps. He said that every day, someone would throw themselves at the wires. And there were times where he would try to do it himself. But he didn't. And it was for one reason.
It is a powerful thing.
Who knows... sixty years from now, this couple's granddaughter will hear the story of how a group of young people helped them and pay it forward...