Our random stop to McDonalds on our annual Christmas trip to downtown Chicago suddenly took a different direction.
We had stopped on our way to visit our favorite places: Garrets popcorn, Christ kindle Market, and the Walnut Room restaurant inside Macy’s department store. This year, of all years, was an indulgence as our financial footing had just recently been regained. Nearly a year after my husband’s lay off, he had found a contract job and I began working part time.
My sister and our teens had wandered into McDonalds for a quick bite and a chance to find respite from the cold temperature wielding its force against us. Just a few inexpensive items provided a few moments of delight in the midst of the mundane. The amount seemed trivial but blessings cannot be measured by currency.
A blessing is just that-no matter how small it seems.
As we finished up our snacks, we made our way to the door when I heard the voice of a man as I passed by.
“Would you buy me lunch?”
Requests for help are not new to me. In certain areas of my spheres, I am confronted with them often. I have struggled. How much do I give? Is giving money the best way to help? Should I feel guilty for spending money on non-essentials for my own family?
Truthfully, their stories haunt me. How can we best address the way privilege can open up paths of restoration for all? Where is my place in making a difference? Am I doing enough?
At times, the questions seem daunting. The imbalance of resources seems overwhelming. Where do I start?
So, I was thankful that he appeared in my midst. All he asked for was a small hamburger, a small fry and a small drink.
I ordered and we talked while we waited. In our brief moments together, I learned of his love of specific genres of music. I listened as he shared about leaving his previous shelter because of time limitations. But he found a new place and was looking for work in order to save for an apartment.
And then his number was called. I handed him the receipt to collect his meal. He thanked me and joined a few other friends huddled in the corner.
I long for more concrete answers to heal a system of injustice. I sometimes feel inadequate in my offerings rooted in my privilege: one which involves a plethora of avenues of support just because of my skin color, education, and economic status, and resources.
I can’t explain why I was born into my circumstances. I have not “earned” God’s favor.
As I continue to seek the Holy Spirit’s leading into where I can become a catalyst for change, I will look for the opportunities that lie right in front of me. What I perceive as a small blessing becomes abundant when we share it.
It was never intended just for me.
(This piece first appeared at stephaniejthompson.com)