This morning I woke feeling sad. I cannot count how many sad mornings there have been for the past twenty months. On my early morning walk I watched a bank of clouds swallow up the sunrise. My family and friends tell me to stop reading and listening. They tell me to take breaks.
But you do not take breaks from friends who are suffering with so many degrees of struggle and loss. You cannot let the clouds swallow them up too. You read and listen to help those who cannot — to help them navigate in this nightmarish storm. And maybe you can rescue some who do not yet realize they are drowning.
My first listen today was of a dad and a young daughter speaking before a city council. They were choking on the stranglehold the mandates are putting on their community.
You want to know what he does for a living?
He runs the heart and lung machine that maybe your grandma or brother were on during open heart surgery. He says there are only two in his local hospital who do that work and neither will take the jab. So people will die when they are fired for their choice. Some will call him foolish or selfish and some will call him a hero.
He struggled to remain composed. He said he has tried to see his way around it and through it but, in the end, standing for freedom is the only thing that makes sense for the long term. Because, well, we do not know what they will ask us to do next.
My sad did not end there. We needed a few things at a local store whose name you would know. There were bright red signs on every cooler door and on end caps and more. “Hiring Event – Today!” Other local stores have signs that say “Immediate Interviews”. Lines are long and shelves have gaps.
Manned tables were placed strategically. People were stopping by. There sat a tall man with a long beard – older. I overheard. The woman in control harshly said, “You cannot fill out an application online?” Him: “No.” Her again: “Do you have a cell phone you could fill one out on?” Him, dejected: “No.”
I walked away, knowing he was not going to get a job, no matter what. He wanted a job. He was willing to work. But he was not even good enough for a large chain retail discount store who were having a “Hiring Event – Today!”. What a false hope they held out to him and others.
With my cart filled with more than we need — because one never knows — I checked myself out. I opened my wallet to pay cash because right now, more than ever, it is important to use cash. That is another right being threatened.
After feeding the machine my money I made my way to the parking lot. It was still cloudy like my heart. I loaded the groceries into my van and drove out the side exit, heading home.
I live in rural Iowa near a very small town. I shop in a town that is bigger, but still small — less than 30,000 residents. So seeing what I saw next is rare — a beggar by the side exit of the store parking lot. Even more rare, it was a young woman.
I could have looked the other way. That is sometimes easier in the bigger cities when you cannot tell if it is a ruse or real. But I chose to read her sign. The first phrase had me.
“I have kids.”.
I pulled over. I opened my wallet, still well supplied. The tears from the dad and daughter talk threated to spill again. I put the window down and looked into the grateful eyes of a young East Indian woman — a surprise in this small town.
Her accent when she said “God bless you” confirmed her origins. A couple of scars on her face said she had suffered. I could only get out “You, too” when I handed her less than I should have. Whether her need was real or not — God bless her.
Turning left, I headed north. A sudden realization came as did the tears. My kids’ generation rarely carry cash. If you do not carry cash, how do you help in a situation like that? If people do not carry cash how does someone in need ask for help?
What if, one day, I am the beggar? Then a song came on the radio… “Sometimes heartache is the gift I need…down broken roads You’re still my rock. My hope remains, I’ll rest in the arms of Jesus, come what may.”
Come what may, I will stand firm for what I know is right.
Come what may, I will help my neighbor.
Come what may, I will trust the Lord who will care for me.
What is your ‘come what may’ list?
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Sharon welcomes your comments or questions. Her email address is:
Sharon James — along with her husband, children & visiting grandchildren — has lived and worked for nearly 35 years on a century farm in Iowa.
She is an avid researcher and life-long learner with a degree in education and strong interest in natural healing. Her now-adult children were all home schooled.
Sharon James is a contributing writer at Truth Comes to Light.