Stepping Forward

It’s been a year or more since my wife and I served in Safe Families. We had taken a break leaning into our own family for a time. We’ve been taking in kids on and off since I started Safe Families 17 years ago. I found I was getting pretty comfortable with not having a stranger in my home.  I would see the text messages and emails about families in need but was not reading them. Then my wife mentioned to we start hosting again.  It surprised me. I have typically been the one bringing kids home.  She would always say “yes”. She had recently heard from another family that they were struggling with their daughter so my wife offered to take her in on weekends.   She then had an idea.  There is another girl the same age from a mom that we have been helping over the past 7 years. This girl has been struggling with the isolation of virtual schooling and had no friends. Maybe we could use our home to connect these girls so they could build a friendship. My wife’s idea was just what the girls needed.

What I thought would be hard work and draining turned out to be a complete blessing. The girls thoroughly enjoy themselves and both moms were encouraged and supported. Sometimes hospitality can be draining.  This time, it was refreshing and helped me to re-engage at such a critical time when so many families are struggling, including my own sometimes. It can be more of a blessing to give than to receive, even when you feel you don’t have a lot to give. Coming out of pandemic, it is easy to feel depleted after a year of isolation and social distancing. Many of us have got comfortable stepping back rather than stepping forward. Regardless of the past year, there is an invitation to step into serving with Safe Families.

Something happened last week that really summed this up for me. I have started biking again with the weather warming up, and I often see a homeless guy who sleeps/lives on a bus stop bench on my route. Amazingly, he sleeps outside on the bench until its 20 degrees below zero. As can imagine, this past winter has been especially tough. During my last ride last week, I decided to talk with him again and he offered me a bottle of water.  I told him that I felt bad taking his water knowing he has so little. He quickly replied, “I only need enough for the day.” I started to ask about tomorrow but decided not to. I thanked him again and biked home. This man had reminded me, you only need enough for today! What a great reminder as we serve and support our communities.