Monday, November 17, 2008

Not Ignoring the Ringing I Hear

After work today, I made my bi-monthly Wal-Mart run (shopping Day 3 if you're counting) and if I'm not mistaken, it looks as though it is the opening day for the Salvation Army's bell ringers to be out in full force with their red, metal kettles. I didn't see them yesterday and it's going to be a long time before they go away.

I parked my fat SUV in a close parking space and took off my warm gloves to check over my shopping list. Included on my list were several food items, but also items that just seem to make our lives a little more enjoyable. A little more luxurious and a little bit easier. It was that moment that I looked up and spied a Salvation Army bell ringer, volunteering their time in the freezing cold weather, being ignored by shoppers too busy rushing past to get into the warmth of the store and buy what they need and what they want. I began to think how many times I've filled that role, making up excuses in my head that I don't have any pocket change or I don't want to take my gloves off to look or I simply don't have time to drop in a spare dime. Embarrassing excuses don't you think?

From that moment, it struck me how fortunate I am, how fortunate my family is and how blessed we are every single day. We really don't have a "need" for anything. And isn't that nice to be able to say? While there are most certainly plenty of people with greater financial wealth than ourselves, just think of how many people right in our own community, who don't know when or where their next meal is coming from. And one season a year, volunteers step up across the country, reaching out to make a difference. All you have to do is stretch out your arm.

So, I'm doing it. From this day forward, a new tradition has been born into our family. I will no longer pretend that I'm not acutely aware of that ringing bell in the cold night air. I won't think of how much money I don't have in my purse, but rather dig until I come up with something. And most importantly, not let a single day go by without thanking God for how blessed we are and how He continues to provide.

The side effect of this effort in giving is twofold. Can you imagine a better lesson and tradition to share with your children? When our kids are grown and they hear that bell ringing next to the red kettle, I don't want them to remember a single time in their life that that didn't mean for them to take action. Like making a simple contribution was ever an option given to them. It's just the way it's always been. In addition to that, even with the simplest contribution of my spare change each year, it accounts for something. It may be the difference in feeding a hungry person their next meal. Or it may that a lovely 3 year old girl or boy gets their very first new toy to call their own.

Whatever it means, I'm in. Anyone care to join me this season?

1 Welcome Comments:

Heather said...

I'm with you!