Saturday morning my car was full.
Among its contents were 100 pouches of Kool-Aid, 8 dozen eggs, a plastic tote full of Easter baskets and serving bowls, an Easter Bunny costume, a dresser (and 2 packs of Depends for the man I’m a guardian for). I wish I would have thought to have taken a picture. It’s a typical snapshot that pretty much reflects my life these days. The kool-aid and 8 dozen eggs had been donated by different people for our “Play in the Park” on Saturday. The Easter baskets and bunny costume were on loan from another friend for Saturday. As for the dresser, I had been to garage sales and was delighted to find it for my friends!
The truth is, Saturday morning my heart was also full!
A friend of mine and I ventured out toward the park that we’ll play in this Saturday with our community. We attached invitations to water bottles filled with candy and tied them from the trees and playground equipment at the park.
These young girls came to the park while we were there. They excitedly discovered the bottles and wore them as necklaces. They asked if they could help us. We were about done but told them the best way they could help was to tell all their friends that there would be an Easter Party for them next Saturday. In just a few minutes other kids were running down the street toward the park.
Also while we were there a man from the “tucked away” community that I wrote about last year came walking through the park. We started talking and he asked if we were setting up for a birthday party. I told him, no, that actually we were getting ready to have an Easter party for everybody in the neighborhood next Saturday. “For real?” he said. He looked happy and thanked me. I gave him a handful of invitations and he told us he would be sure to tell the kids so that they could come get some of the candy from the bottles.
We continued on up and down some of the streets where we have gotten to know people and one particular block that we know is full of children.
We saw a family sitting out on their front porch. I pulled over and my friend jumped out to run an invitation to them. They remembered us from the past (we call each of our times together, “Play in the Park”), were excited to come and asked us if they could bring anything. As my friend told me about their conversation I took a deep breath, got goose bumps and a bit teary-eyed.
That is, after all, what friends and neighbors do. My heart was encouraged. I have never wanted it to be perceived as us doing a good deed for them. I have always wanted it to be about coming together as one community.
As for providing for a community, well, I am learning, that is not my job. My job is to step out and do what I’m supposed to. We set the date, gather the people and the pieces of things that we do have and show up. That is all we’re ever really asked to do in life. Show up, give what we have, when we can, with grateful hearts. Show up and let the extra stuff, as well as the extra love, joy, peace, forgiveness, hope (etc.) that God gives us, be the provision for those who need what we have to give away.
I continue to take the pieces of what I have been given and give thanks for it, offering it to Him. God is ever faithful and does an incredible job providing…through people! I have not made a public request for anything and yesterday came home to this…
76 cups of fruit, multiple packages of cookies and crackers…and 48 bottles of bubbles!
I am so thankful for the amazing circle of friends that have kindred spirits and vision. I am grateful for their generous hearts that continually give both sacrificially and of their extra, mindful that there are always those with less.
Next Saturday, children will leave with toys, books, treats and eggs that they decorated themselves. They will have enjoyed music and games, and heard the Easter Story. I pray that the park becomes a place of good memories for those children and families. Most of all, I pray that everyone who comes leaves with a full heart!
Gratefully Amazed At This Process With You,