As we were walking down the long sidewalk about to enter our apartment building, my mom suddenly grabbed me and my sister’s hand and hurriedly pushed us along as she ran into the house; catching our breath from the very abrupt move of wind we felt as mama ran toward the apartment we stood in bewilderment wondering what was wrong with mama. As we sat on the couch we watched as mama swung open refrigerator doors, grabbing out what she could and opening cabinets and filling bags and sacks with our groceries, I began to wonder why mama was giving our food away, when we didn’t have much ourselves.
As she completed her rounds, she asked that we stay put on the couch and rushed out the door – Me of course wanting to know what the fuss and rush was all about; I went to the front door and began to look out; I remember seeing mama walking briskly in which turned into a run across the street to this big church. I remember seeing her approach this woman as she had come out of the church and was making her way to the parking lot, she had this small box in her hand – When my mama approached her with her bags of our food; the woman looked surprised, the next thing I know the woman was hugging mama and crying, they chatted a while longer. I watched mama walk calmly back across the street and down the sidewalk, as she approached closer to the building; I hurried to the couch as if I had been sitting there all the while.
When mama came into the house, her eyes were red; so I knew she was crying too just as that lady was, yet she was smiling – she slowly made her way to the kitchen and began to clean up the mess that she had left behind, it wasn’t until years later that she finally told me what happened that day.
Over the years, I watched my mama play out many scenarios as the one above; in grocery stores she would walk up to random people and talk with them, leaving them with something from her purse or maybe even a pendant that she would be wearing, I profoundly remember her giving her sister a $3000.00 living room set that she had just recently purchased, she had it for one week and the next thing I know my aunt was pulling up to haul it away (now where were we going to sit). When I was 16 we joined this church in Arkansas; it didn’t take mama long to mingle with others…she was definitely a social butterfly – never met a stranger; after a year of being at the church the women voted for mama to be the Auxiliary Women’s President – as soon as they did that, mama took into action and began to plan their annual women’s day event; when the day rolled around for the event to happen, mama had donors; sponsors and so many prizes for everyone to enjoy – it was the best women’s day the church had ever had; even the children won prizes. The following year she took it upon her own to honor everyone’s birthday in the church – From January to December; man, woman, boy or girl – everyone’s birthday was recognized. The women received gifts, The men received a five dollar bill along with a birthday card and the children either received money, toys or candy; but she wanted everyone to be recognized, No matter what she gave away and to whom, it was always met with a smile, love and an Empty pocket…
You see my mama wasn’t rich, she didn’t have rich relatives nor friends – everything she did was from her very own pocket (as we grew older and began to hold down jobs, we would support her cause in helping and giving) her only income when we were younger was either food stamps, her job and later in life a disability check; on top of that she was raising three girls on her own; Giving was one of the most precious things that she felt she had and even though mama wasn’t rich in money, she always gave like she was….
Growing up all those years and seeing mama give from her heart, played an ethical part in me and my sister’s lives, the apple definitely didn’t fall far from the tree. I once had a friend to ask me, “Do you ever get back what you give out?”….. I thought about it for a minute and said “No” – she then went out that day and bought me something, which she didn’t have to do because I don’t necessarily look to get anything back; in which is the spirit we’re all supposed to possess when we give from the heart….
If you’re looking to get something back when you give something out; then it’s really not the true essence or spirit of giving, right?… every year around this time – everyone grabs the spirit of giving tightly, they reach out to help others in need which is what Christmas is supposed to be about “helping others” and not necessarily yourself. It’s more blessed to give than to receive, that’s what the bible tells us – but I’m sure that passage was not meant to be trapped in only one month of the year.
Sometimes giving is tough, do you still give to people even though you know they don’t like you? Would you withdraw your hand from helping them; especially if you knew they were truly in need? NO! One might say, YES! But the answer is NO; Did Jesus forsake dying on the cross because he had haters, disbelievers, fake followers and people whom literally became disgusted with him? He could have, but he didn’t…He fulfilled prophesy and gave his life anyway – So, regardless of the feelings and backlash of others. When God ask you to do something and if he resides in you – You have to do it despite or contrary to popular belief. (Because Greater is HE that is within YOU – Not THEM!).
Mama told me the story of why she helped that woman so many years ago, she stated that as we were coming down the sidewalk, she looked up and seen the woman going into the church, She stated that the spirit of the Lord told her to go into the house and give the woman food out of her refrigerator because the food that they were going to supply to her was not going to be enough food to sustain her until her food stamps came. Mama rushed into the house and began to open the refrigerator and cabinets to pull out anything that would help this woman and her family. She didn’t know how long the woman was going to be in the church but wanted to hurry so she wouldn’t miss her.
When she walked out of the apartment she seen the lady coming out of the church, so she hurried over to her after carefully crossing the street, as mama approached the woman – she said excuse me miss, I don’t know you and you don’t know me but God told me to give you some extra food for your family because the food that the church was going to give you was not going to be enough to sustain your household. The woman looked at mama in such shock and began to cry and break down, the woman said – she had just lost her job and had recently went to the food stamp office to apply for food stamps, they told her that it would be a week before they arrive, but her and her family needed food, so she went to the church for help.
Giving may not necessarily be a part of your ritual now, but in 2016 make it an effort to Give like U Rich! Because Love nor giving richly takes a Holiday, it only takes a HEART! & everyone has one of those to give.