I was once dating this fella. It irritated him how people were just so naturally nice to me. Likewise, my fairly unshakeable basic spirituality baffled and annoyed him just a bit. Once, at dinner, he asked me how...how did I come to have my faith, my way of walking through the world? And without thinking hard at all, I popped out with a list of three teachings that I had picked up along the way. Through the years I’ve re-run these three things back through my brain and each time I’ve concluded that they are still sound...that they still form the tripod legs of my spirituality.
The first one I’ve written of often enough - that what you put out there is returned to you ten fold. It’s a nice story. The last one I’ve been struggling with of late...I’ll write about that more next month. But the middle one is the one we are going to play with today. It’s a simple little lesson...small things done often really add up.
Now many of you knew my mamma or even now know OF her. She’s the patron saint of Peace and Good Things. In fact, that’s a phrase she used to use. Peace and good things. She was a wonderful woman. One of the most loving ones you could ever have met. The world truly lost a good one when she passed. I feel bad for people who will never experience the particular warmth of her love.
She was old school though. I’m the second to the youngest of nine children. She would be closer to the age of many of my contemporaries grandparents than their parents. She signed my permission slips Ms. John L. Hechmer. She was, to wit, a 1950’s housewife. As such, she had no money of her own. Dad gave her an allowance and she worked off of that each week or month. (I don’t know the particulars of this arrangement.)
Now one of the things Mom loved was the St. Jude’s Foundation. I know they are well known now but I doubt they were back then. And I don’t know if she loved what they do, so much as she loved their patron Saint: St. Jude, the patron of lost causes. She died when I was 25 and I never thought to ask her these types of things back when I might have. But loved them she did. And throughout the course of my childhood she would gather dimes and nickels as she found them and when she had collected $1 she would have Dad write them a check and send it off to them. And us kids would get in on it too. Bringing the change we found on the side of the road or in parking lots to her or donating the coins she found in the bottom of the washer (she would always ask first).
She supported them one dollar at a time.
And perhaps Dad wrote out a bigger check than just $1. But that has only recently occurred to me. And that isn’t what informs my spirituality. It’s that she gathered up tiny bits of love as she went through her days, enlisted others to do likewise merely by being her wonderful self and let that be her legacy of good works. It’s really quite powerful.
So when Ms. Joy Ike, a beautiful singer songwriter, came through town and played at a Kitamu Coffee here in Hilliard I decided to “adopt” one the Food For The Hungry children she had sitting on her merchandise table. She told me about the organization and their mission to educate and inspire these kids to embrace their power and raise themselves out of their situation. She explained how the bulk of their employees are former sponsored children. And let me know that the bulk of my donation isn’t spent in administrative costs but actually goes where it is intended. These are good things.
And we chose Rendi. Oh, this little booger’s picture. Not trying to look cute. Not trying to look pitiful. He actually looks like an 8 year old bruiser. There is a toughness there. A determination. And it will be neat to see what he makes out of himself. And if I can put some food in the belly; some fuel for the fire then that will be a good thing.