Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Starting Here

The world is spinning faster, the news a steady diet of horror and awfulness. I can't help but feel overwhelmed and helpless about it all. When I hit that spot where I am searching for hope, I start with one of the foundations of my faith as I learned it: Help others. Being of service, is an immediate fix for that low place. I can't fix all the troubles, but starting where I am, I can do something.

As I circled the lot looking for that always elusive Trader Joe's parking spot, I noticed a young family off to the side. A man, two small children, and a woman with a baby on her lap, sat on the curb. There was a handmade sign with something about a lost job and needing food and work. The man was playing the accordion. I parked and made my way back to them. I introduced myself and then spoke to the woman.

"Let's go shopping."

She picked out soap and chicken and toilet paper and milk and potatoes and peanut butter and eggs and bread. There was cheese and jam and yogurt and canned tuna and tomatoes and butter and olive oil and more. Her son picked out a watermelon. Her daughter picked out a bar of chocolate.

I paid. We hugged each other tight as we both welled up. We promised to pray for each other.

I know I got the better end of this deal.


  1. Great idea - and even better follow-through. I hope I think to do the same.

  2. This is just so lovely. YOU are just so lovely.

  3. Funny how being of service helps to center us, huh?

  4. Thank you for for helping us get through these tough days.
    I adore you!

  5. Lisa, you inspire me a whole big bunch of the time. This. This is what we can do.

  6. What a beautiful thing. I admit I am a bit jealous I didn't happen upon them first - helping others is such food for the soul. I will look for my own opportunities ;) thank you for being you in this sometimes scary world.

  7. Yes, Lisa. THIS. Two years ago, I saw the same thing. I took the mother inside Target, she had two babies with her, in diapers. The cardboard said "Need money. New Life in California. Please help." We shopped, the first thing she wanted was shoes for her boys. We picked out shoes, I insisted on diapers, non perishable food, light T shirts, fun books, and plenty of socks. (I love socks) She took it all with the most heartbreaking eyes. But it was her words to me as we walked with her to her van that did me in. Her faith, "I prayed. I knew you would come. I told my husband, "pray." My children were with me and Auggie gasped out loud. This is faith in humanity. She gave us that gift that day. All this to say, I love you, Lisa, and thank you, universe for the opportunity, the honor you send our way to help one another.

  8. This reminded me of one of my "of service" moments. A man in a wheel chair in the parking lot of my supermarket. I'd seen him before, many times, pushing carts back to the store while he wheeled himself around. Something told me to talk to him. I asked him if he was ok and I didn't have much money (none, actually) but gave him all the change in my purse. But then I remembered my credit cards! I asked him what he wanted and he said nothing and I said, Ok, how about some cookies then, is that ok? He said it was an I bought him some Oreos. When I got back to the lot and handed him the cookies, all damn proud of myself, I realized he had no teeth! Had I paid a little more attention I would have bought him some soft cookies. I agonized over that for a week. The moral of the story is, as always, know your audience. I'm so happy you went out of your way for that family. You will never be forgotten by them, or us. xo

    1. I think with Oreos, where there's a will there's a way. Xoxo

  9. If only every human could be like you, my friend. Amazing.

  10. Beautiful and inspiring. Having been on the receiving end of a similar gift after my husband lost his job last year, I can tell you that the uplift to their own spirits means as much if not more than the items themselves. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

  11. Thank you for this, and thank you for waking up my brain and eyes so that I will better address such opportunities if I see them in the future. And thank you to Alexandra for sharing your post!

  12. This made me teary and smile at the same time. xoxo