I don’t know about where you live, but the past few weeks have blasted West Michigan with painfully icy wind and record-breaking snowfall. I wish I could say that I’m loving it, but in truth, I’m counting the days until we can flee like frozen refugees for asylum on some non-specified Florida beach.
While our climate can seem oppressive, weeks like these do provide fodder for thought if you’re looking for matter to ponder. At our home, the relentless weather led to a meaningful conversation about the homeless in our community. Tucked safely in our cozy home like birds in a nest, we empathized and tried to comprehend life in their scuffed shoes. We imagined a cold night without restful sleep or a place to go, and decided that there had to be something we could do–however small–to show compassion.
We came up “The Compassion Project.” Sitting down together, the kids dictated a letter to our neighbors which I typed up. It started out:
Have you ever imagined what it would be like if you lived in Michigan in the winter and were homeless? I bet it would be freezing.
Together as the Graham Family we are working to collect blankets you don’t need or care about that we could take to people who are homeless. We will deliver them to Mel Trotter…”
After dad made copies, we drove our little offspring around the neighborhood to deliver the letters and later in the week we collected the blankets. We were surprised and grateful to those who scouted out forgotten quilts, washed them, and had them ready when we came around in the suppertime darkness. At the end of the night, we had almost 30 blankets!
That weekend we delivered everything to Mel Trotter, a shelter in downtown Grand Rapids. While I wanted the kids to see the reality of life on the margins of society, more important to me was instilling in them the idea that showing love and concern for others doesn’t have to be a monumental undertaking. You don’t need a million dollars. You don’t have to know the president. You certainly don’t have to be a grown up!
Why not reach outside yourself today with the little ones that you love? Whether nieces or nephews, grandchildren, kids at church or school–or your own children–find a small act of compassion that you can do together. Love always brings a little extra sunshine to the winter snow!
Check back next week for another Family Friday idea…and be sure to share your own great ideas by leaving a comment below!