You Are What You Give

I am a firm believer that we get back what we put into this world. I am not going to lie, I have no idea what it is like to go without, go hungry, or struggle in life. I came from a family who was blessed. For the longest time I thought every family had two homes, a classic car in the garage and 3 other cars in the drive way. My parents came from large families, where they were seen as farm hands not children, they came from nothing. Both knew that there was a better way and that their children would never go without.

Yet, they always taught my sister and I that there are people out there who are struggling. They taught us the power of giving and that no matter what happens in life you need to give back to society. To be thankful to God for the life we led, for the Calvin Kline jeans on our tush, the nikes on our feet, and the ice cream cone in our hand. They were always giving, giving back to our community. I firmly believe that this is the greatest lesson they have ever instilled in me.

I am grateful and blessed, I’ve seen god work in my life. The bible says that Jesus is going to come back someday. Indian people believe that the spirits visit us and test our worthiness. They don’t come to us in a clean-cut form, but in the form of a mother in need, a child so hurt they can’t see the sun and the homeless. In my life I have never turned my back on anyone who has asked or needed my help. I will be damned when my life is done and I find out that I turned my head away from Jesus or the spirits.

Some of you drive by the people holding signs at the top of the exit ramps on your way home and don’t give them a second thought. I keep dollars on me just for them. They may be professional beggars, if they are then well they are the ones who have to answer for it in the end. I figure if you are out their holding a sign you are in needed and if I can give you a little bit, then I’ve done my part to help you out. You may not notice the huddled mass hiding in the shadows when you walk down town. If you do you think to yourself, it’s not my problem that they are on the streets. Did you know that most of our nations homeless are war veterans, men who were long forgotten when the last bullets rang through the jungles of Vietnam. These men suffered to free a nation, war it is an evil thing, yet these men strapped on their boots and fought for their country.

I once handed a man a cup of coffee with a twenty in it and pointed him towards the mission and gave him some dog food to feed his friend. I said go get warm, he looked at me and said ” You are a sweet angel, but why should I go get warm when they won’t let my dog in? They will take me and send him to the pound, he and I we are in this together.” Right there at the top of the 35th street ramp on 35w, I cried, this man so broken, so cold,but wouldn’t warm himself because it was unfair to his dog. I can honestly say I saw god at work that day. We hugged and I got back in my car. I haven’t seen him since that fateful below zero day.

I try to see the good in everyone, maybe its a fault that I have. I don’t believe that people are evil, or bad, they just do stupid things. I stand for children, maybe it’s because mine rests in heaven, so I’ve become a protect of sorts a mentor to these broken hearts. Every friday night you can find me helping non custodial parents try to build a bond with their child, in the safety of a supervised visitation. I get to see moments, be a voyeur on their lives, help them be the parents that God knew they were capable of being. Mentoring brings me so much joy. Do you know what its like when a kid calls you up and says “I got into college! thank you for believing in me, for telling me I was worth it!” Every time I get that call I cry tears of joy with them. There are so many children that don’t feel that they are good enough or matter. Those kids they matter to me. I believe that each one of them can change the world and that they stand for a better day.

Imagine what this world could be like if we all just cared and believed in one another. Imagine the good that we could do. It doesn’t matter how busy you claim you are, we all have to take a moment and be present in the lives of others. Whether it’s giving a sign holding man a dollar, opening a door for a stranger, or telling a child they matter. Just do something. Every morning when I wake I have one goal, and that goal is to make a difference in the lives of others. Will join me in that goal? Just imagine what you can do for someone else. You don’t need to do something big, just do something small and grow your heart wide open, until you inner ninja bursts through.

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