The images flash across my television screen as I sit there in the
comfort of my home.
"It's that time of year again," I thought to myself.
Then realizing how foolish that was to say, I sat up in my chair and
The news reporter was telling the story of one of many food banks in our area that were serving those in need of the basics for the holidays.
This particular place had both food and clothing. Food for the body and
warm second hand coats for children.
"It's that time of year again," replayed in my mind.
I meant that throughout the holidays we see such reports over and over, unlike the other 11 months when the same people are hungry, in need of clothing, basic services and a little help with life.
Maybe I said it because I was becoming numb to it all, like watching the same commercials a hundred times.
I was about to feel the real impact of it all.
I was sitting at the counter having breakfast at a local diner the next
It's a small "quaint" place. Local people, husband and wife cook and
A man walked in and sat next to me. There is little elbow-room as it is
and he was a big fellow.
On top of the milk dispenser is a small television placed there for both
the customers enjoyment and the owners when things get slow.
It just so happened that the news was on and once again that same report on the food bank.This time it included more information and a few
interviews of some of the people who participated.
There was a little girl looking through the coats. The reporter asked her if she found something that fit.
She turned toward the camera and smiled. She flipped her soft brown hair up over the collar as she pulled and tugged at the front to make sure it would zipper properly.
"I like this store. Mommy said I could have any coat I wanted, but I'm
getting this one for my friend. Her daddy won't come here. Mommy says he's too proud. Whatever that means. All I know is Mandy needs a coat."
Out of the corner of my eye I could see the man next to me lower his
head. Without looking up he fumbled for a napkin and began to wipe his eyes.
"Incredibly sad, isn't it?" I said.
He didn't respond.
"Are you okay?" I asked.
"Yes," he said quietly.
"Hey, don't feel bad, I've shed many tears through the holidays for those
who don't have nearly as much as I and I am in no way financially set
for life," I told him.
"I'm a writer. I live on my dreams," I added.
He turned toward me. I could still see the dampness of tear filled eyes.
He raised his hand to his chest and pointing at himself he said..."I'm
Mandy's father. That's the first I've seen that. The little girl goes to
school with my daughter."
Oh, my god! My chest tightened, my hands shook and I shared in his
"It must be raining," he joked.
We spoke for a few more minutes about how he felt and what he needed to do. Turns out he's unemployed for more than a year now and doing odd jobs to pay bills.
We said our goodbyes and I approached the register.
I whispered that I wanted his check.
"He only gets coffee," she said.
"Well, here.This is for my meal, his coffee and tell him this is for Mandy. He'll understand."
Many years ago I spoke at my friend's church in Atlanta, The Ark of
Salvation. A woman came up to me and said God told her to give me
everything she had in her wallet.I was shaken by the thought and began to refuse it.Things were better for me back then. I couldn't justify what she offered.
God spoke to me as I listened to her explain.
"It isn't very much, but God said that it would multiply. Please take it."
I did.I shared the story with Nathaniel Bronner, the pastor of the
church and he smiled assuring me I did the right thing.
It was $57. I always carry it with me until this very day. I give it away
and replace it. It has indeed multiplied many times.
God is an amazing God Who has never failed to replace that $57 each and every time I use it.
I turned to walk away and another man sitting at the counter grabbed my arm and said..."I overheard your conversation with that man. I'll help
He then wiped his eyes and said, "He's right. It must be raining."
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