“If you haven’t any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.” ~Bob Hope
Charity begins at home. We’ve all heard that one. Isn’t it in the Bible? Or maybe it just should be. I like helping others, but if it’s monetary, I like it even better knowing that all of my money is helping someone rather than 80% going to some executive’s salary of the organization or to a bonus of the “fat cat” of the business. Know what I’m talking about? How many of you have really done your research on these companies to know exactly how much of your donation is actually going to the said cause in which you support? In all honesty, I haven’t done my research, so I don’t have the answers either. But in the last few years, I’ve gotten to the point that I like to see the faces of the people I help. Not necessarily a one on one connection. I just mean I like to support local ministries that I know the money is being invested on the needs of people in my community.
I have told you all about my elderly friend. I am becoming more and more aware of the plight of the elderly. Well, Saturday I woke up thinking that I really wanted to just have a stay at home pajama day. I was not going to get dressed; heck, I wasn’t even going to take a shower. I was going to read and write (and put off the taxes!) all day and into the night. As noon began to stare me down, “the voice” told me to stop being self centered and lazy, to just get up off my fat butt and call Chris to see if she needed anything. Bless her heart, she started crying when she found out it was me on the other end of the phone. She needed to do her laundry and was unable to go up and down the steps to go to the laundry. She didn’t want to call anyone and put them out. She had been crying out to God and praying that someone would help her.
Of course, I agreed to help her. I didn’t even grab a shower but just threw on my clothes and headed out. I first went to the store to pick up the few things she needed. Then, I went over to her apartment. I was going to take her laundry back to my house, but I could see she was really depressed, so I agreed to do her laundry on the premises of the apartment complex and spend the time while the clothes were washing and drying with Chris.
Have you ever considered how frustrating and depressing it must be to be physically unable to do the things you once did and have to ask for help and then depend on someone to do those things for you in their time? I can’t even begin to imagine. But I knew my friend needed me, and by golly, I was not going to let her down. We had a lovely afternoon of tea, talking, laughter, and even a couple of shots of Amaretto. I helped her do a few simple things like flipping her mattress and changing the sheets on her bed.
I wanted to clean Chris’ apartment for her, but we have a problem with that. The problem is that she won’t let me do it unless I agree to let her pay me for it, and I refuse to accept any money from her because I know that her income is fixed. She is currently paying almost $900 a month for rent. The management will put a washer and dryer in her apartment for about an additional $70, but it would only cost her about half of that to do it on the premises. So instead, I am going to pick up her laundry every week and do it at my house and return it to her the next day. I’m not quite sure how to get her to relent in allowing me to clean for her.
She was ever so grateful, but I knew she was still feeling down. So, Sunday I was going to have that pajama day that I had been wanting but while I was drinking my coffee, I had a great idea. I decided that I was going to surprise my friend. I thought her birthday was in May, but I wasn’t sure. She never tells her age and isn’t one to make a big deal over her birthday. I got a shower and then went shopping. I bought Chris a birthday cake, and flowers. I purchased her a pair of pants and a blouse and placed them in a gift bag with a card that read: Happy Birthday, Chris. We know this isn’t your REAL birthday, but want you to know that we love you every day as if it is your birthday! I tapped the secret knock on her door to let her know it was a friend or relative. Chris was surprised to see me at her door and down right shocked that I came bearing a birthday party. She said, “You are one crazy woman, but you have made my day!”. I even sang to her. We had cake and tea. She felt special, and I felt good for making her feel that way.
I have always been drawn to elderly people. I have always gone out of my way to try to help them. I honestly am not claiming to know the facts of what type of services that are offered to aid our senior citizens who don’t drive or have family member to do for them. But I imagine that if we really looked around there are probably many who are doing without or are lonely or just need a helping hand. So, I am challenging you to adopt an elderly person into your life. I’m not asking you to go spend your life savings on them. I’m asking you to donate a little of your time to a lonely senior. Call a grandparent if you have one. Go visit a nursing home. Ask your local church for suggestions of a senior that doesn’t have family nearby. There is so much you can offer with just time and a little energy. Trust me, the rewards are phenomenal . Not just for the senior. You’ll receive ten fold in your heart what you’ve put out! Now, go out there and make a difference.