Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday: "... from her poverty, has contributed all she had"

hard times that weigh heavily upon so many -- how many millions are now unemployed?? -- has there been a day in your life when you had no roof over your head? when you did not have food to eat? when you did not have clothes to wear?

A very special lady in my teen-aged years, Estelle by name, now already some years again with her Creator God, shared a moving story about her younger days. She was a farmhand's daughter in North Carolina. When Christmas morning came, she would know that her parents had been able to save some money when there were two oranges in the Christmas stocks for herself and her siblings. Two oranges: that was Christmas! But these were truly formative years and Estelle treasured what she learned. She learned to be grateful to God for what she did receive.

As she grew older, she moved north. She married and birthed two wonderful children. Her husband, who also struggled to gain a college education, long before the colleges became a way of life, became a successful man. Theirs was an upper middle class family in the '40s and '50s. However, she realized that as painful as the tough road her parents walked, she learned that giving was always important.

As her family began to grow, Estelle continued to practice what her mother taught her: sewing. It was the only way that she and her siblings had clothes. Her mother would tailor the material into shirts, blouses, trousers, suits and even overcoats. This was her teaching moment to her family: even though your father may have a decent income, you should remember it is just too easy to spend on yourself. We need realize that we have to have some funds to help others.

Estelle recalled how on one occasion when someone mentioned that so smaller children were "rag-tag clothed," one of Estelle's children reminded her that they had some clothes that no longer fit them because they were getting taller. Could we give those clothes to help? Indeed they could because what Estelle made lasted, and lasted. What a joy it was to know that her children had learned that giving of what you have is so important. She was so proud of her children. She never spoke a word about how good she was in teaching them how to give.

Many are the avenues to give of ourselves , to give beyond the little extra that might be available. What we give when it truly "costs" a little comfort or some easy living is so much more than giving what really does not mean much to us.

Thanks, Estelle. Keep sending those messages from your heavenly home where I am sure there are more than two oranges!