A very happy Valentine's day, indeed!
My confirmation saint, Saint Valentine, pray for us!
My kids - they amaze me!
This week we've been discussing the corporal works of mercy. This really struck a chord with the girls.
Monday we made a list of things people need to live. The obvious things were discussed: food, drink, shelter, clothing....
But then Molly went on to say "nice words to know we're loved." I was amazed that she would come up with that as a necessity. But reality speaks to say she's right. Those that don't seem to find love from others in this world, don't survive.
Molly then asked if we can do a corporal work of mercy for the homeless. She has a heart for them - that's for sure.
After a little brainstorming, we decided on blessing bags. We would go shopping to pick up some small necessities to fill bags that we could deliver to the homeless.
We included toothbrushes and toothpaste, floss, soap, lotion, razors, kleenex, bottles of juice, cereal bars, sandwich crackers, a pair of socks, HotHands heat packs, and finally a note or a picture hand-drawn by the girls letting them know that THEY are valuable people, worth caring for, and that we prayed for them.
It was inspiring to watch the girls work so diligently making sure we had enough of each item, sorting them all out on the floor, and then filling the bags with care not to tear or smoosh anything.
Next I learned exactly why it is important for me to want to shelter my kids from the ugliness of the world.
I had spoken to a couple people about what we were doing and they both brought up what seemed like valid questions of "Is that safe?" "Isn't it a bit scary?" Truth be told, I was a bit nervous too. But I assured them, I had a safe plan. We were going to head downtown and find a park bench and run out unseen to drop it off, and walk away.
As we pulled into the streets of downtown Omaha, the girls were on the lookout for these alleged homeless people. Quickly, they spotted a group. Molly shouted, "Right there, Mom! Those people need us." I hesitated. I couldn't hand these out personally. What if they did something to my babies? Or they started to fight over the bags in front of my kids?
I drove around a few blocks, all the while listening to the girls eager requests to go back to that group. I started praying for guidance. The girls kept begging. And as I passed the corner again, there was an open parking space. If you know anything about parking downtown, you know that's a sign. So we parked.
The girls unbuckled, and jumped out of the van. I started handing them the boxes of bags, and without an ounce of hesitation or fear (and without waiting for me to go with them!) they carried the boxes up to the group of people, sat them down on the ground, and walked away with their heads down.
There were shouts from the group, "They're for Valentine's day!" "What cute little girls!" And what seemed like a million thank yous. Not a single bad or scary thing happened. One man even walked over to our van and asked if we needed help unloading. Unfortunately, that was all we had brought.
The girls scurried back into their seats to watch out the window as the bags were all claimed within seconds. Molly excitedly says, "They love them, Mom! It's really blessing them!"
I drove around the block to drive back by. The girls saw many of the people digging through their bags, eating their cereal bars, and opening their heat packs. They were blessed. My girls. Giving to others in desperate need, receiving thanks from the appreciative people of downtown Omaha had not only blessed the receivers, but deeply blessed my daughters. Watching their faces in amazement, seeing their innocence go untampered, while they were able to directly serve other human beings blessed me so incredibly.
These kids amaze me! And as we drove away, the first word from the silence was "When can we do that again!?"