Stormy Weather

bowl full of pomegranate seeds

hot cup of Hoji-cha green tea

seed cookie

struggling with giving more…

For two days I have baked, but haven’t blogged. Wednesday I made two lovely loaves of molasses bread and shared them with the folks at church. During Advent we have a paraklesis every Wednesday, then a short teaching, then a soup dinner… Homemade bread is always welcome and it’s great to see the folks enjoying it with such vigor during this time of fasting.

Yesterday I shared a loaf of French bread with Kh. Jan, Father Nicholas and their dinner guests. They are the ultimate givers. If I could, I’d make them a loaf of bread every day.

And there’s the rub. Even though I’m enjoying baking bread and giving it away in these small doses, I’m struggling that we’re not doing more. So many pleas are coming in the mail and we just can’t write any more checks. And it’s freezing at night, literally, and despite California being a haven for homeless folks, freezing weather is freezing weather. And when it rains, I feel guilty, sitting here sipping my tea, Dragon Tales on in the background, the dishwasher and heater humming…

Last week I met a young girl who held a sign asking for help. I stopped. I didn’t used to stop. I chatted with her and heard a bit of her story. She was so cute with her clean, round face surrounded by a colorful knit Scandinavian hat. I asked her her name and took her phone number–said I’d call. Even thought about offering my office as a place to sleep.

For days I felt guilty, her name coming to mind over and over–and yet I wouldn’t call. On the one hand my heart seems to be softening and on the other hand I see just how hard I am.

So, it continues to rain, and I continue to bake, and drink my green tea in my cozy home.

My friend, who works with the homeless day in and day out, says you just need to be satisfied with what you can do right now. That the guilt can overwhelm you and drag you under.

Baby steps.

The thought of Cheyenne weighs heavy on my mind. I never should have said I’d call–it was a false thing to do–just something that made me feel oh-so pleased with myself at the moment. I deserve an entire lecture on good intentions.

If you have any words of wisdom for stormy days like this–I’d love to hear your thoughts…

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3 thoughts on “Stormy Weather

  1. Jane
    Though I have not taken on the labor of giving to the extent that you have, I can relate to your dilema. My children and I filled a shopping cart with food the week before Thanksgiving and brought it to a local food bank. It felt like such an insignificant gesture compared to the actual need.
    I think it is a blessing to be made aware of the needs of others, but in humility know that individually we cannot cure all ills. Much in the same way that it is a blessing to be made aware of our sinfulness especially during these times of prayer and fasting so that we may more fully repent and give thanks for God’s mercy.
    I’ve read that during their lives, the closer the Saints became to God the more aware they were of their shortcomings. In the same way, I would imaging that even St. Nicholas who is an amazing example of giving selflessly to those in need, probably felt that he could be doing more. I think that if we can trust that God has all people in his care, then we can be more satisfied with the small things we are able to do, pray that in time He will open our heart to be able to give even more, and give thanks for the blessings he has given us.
    God bless you for your generosity and labors,
    Emily

  2. Over the years, we’ve had a share in diffenrent forms of ministry, to the needy and in evengelism. It is impossible ot help all who are in need who cross our paths. And therein is the snare for those who are of tender heart: Any opportunity to render aid becomes an opportunity for conviction by Satan, if aid is not given.
    We as a Church, and as individuals are commanded to be kind, merciful, and loving (which as indicated, the enemy knows all to well). We as a Church, and as individuals are also commanded to be wise as serpents…; and, as we can see from the parable of the Stewards, we are to be good stewards of whatever Our Master puts into our hands.
    There is always a balance between what we would like to do (as Christians), and what we know we are obligated to do by way of command. I do not know that God expects us to try and help all those needy who cross our paths; but, I do know that we are ot have a heart willling to help, which is in the end, the true foundation of all acts of mercy!

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