I remember the spiritual life counselor at Academia Los Pinares in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, teaching our elementary kids a song by that title. It’s a catchy tune and I still have the words planted in my memory. That’s probably an apt title for this post.
Yesterday, after our house church service, we discovered that Jason and Kristin were celebrating their 9th anniversary on this Valentine’s Day. I learned a few things from questioning them.
They were married in the office of a Justice of the Peace in Eden Prairie, MN (or some such place…I know it had “Prairie” in the name). They remembered that aside from the government official, a guy they knew named Jim was the other witness. They don’t know whatever has become of Jim. We joked about it. I suggested that Jim was on weekend-release and thus able to be there as a witness. They thought that was funny which is a good thing! (my humor can be way too strange sometimes)
I asked them if they missed the life they had back then (knowing it was filled with drugs and heavy drinking and all sorts of problems), and Kristin replied, “No way! It seems so long ago and we were such a mess. It feels like it was another lifetime or even the life of someone else and not my own.” They’ve been through a LOT and Jesus has really brought them through to “the other side.”
They mentioned that they went to the matinee of the movie Avatar on Saturday afternoon to celebrate their anniversary, but when they got across town to the theater, they discovered that they’re now showing the 3-D version, and there is no matinee version. They’d have to pay the full price of 75 pesos which is about $6 apiece. They were planning on paying less than that amount for all of them. They just couldn’t afford that and I guess they’d decided they’d spent too much just getting there to go to McDonald’s which is a few miles in another direction. Kristin LOVES McDonald’s but for their budget, it’s expensive. They might go there once a year. Originally, they were deciding between seeing the movie or going to McDonald’s.
I’ve eaten a meal with them at their home before. I can tell you, we live and eat like kings compared to those on a Mexican factory worker salary. Re-heated corn tortillas, lardy, refried beans and a small piece of shoe leather (possibly a meat-like substance) is lamentable for routine meals in their home.
And the song…”Do To Others…” rings in my ears.
So, tonight when I went over for Bible study, I thought I’d change up the schedule and instead of discussing with Jason what Jesus said in the Bible, I’d show him. I asked Kristin if it was OK with her if Jason went with me to SAM’s Club, and without protest we headed over there. She was actually really happy because she didn’t want to have to try to keep Justin quiet in his little room for our normal 2 to 3 hour study.
Once we got to SAM’s, I told him that I didn’t really need anything, but Beth and I were thinking that maybe it’d be OK with them if we got them some goodies at SAM’s for their anniversary. He didn’t really know what to say…”Uh…sure…that’d be OK.”
We went down a bunch of aisles and picked up some fairly normal stuff like pancake mix, flour, popcorn, hamburgers, cheddar sausages, cereal, and coffee. I gave Jason a coffeemaker, a few hundred coffee filters, and coffee for Christmas but since running out of it, they haven’t been able to afford any more coffee. The big can from SAM’s should last them a couple months. He said, “Yeah, we really like pancakes. Haven’t had them in a long time.”
When we got home, the look on Kristin’s face was priceless. She really hadn’t suspected that I was going to SAM’s to buy them stuff. She gave me a big hug and I felt pretty sure that if I were them, I’d be just as appreciative if they had done this for me. Not an especially fabulous gift for an anniversary, but I know it is difficult to do much of anything on just a few dollars income a day.
It’s great to do to others as we would have them to us, isn’t it? I really didn’t want to post this publicly. I am not patting myself on the back or wanting praise for anything, but if I can encourage you to do an act of kindness for someone else this week through this small example, then I think that would make it worth sharing with you. I hope you’ll go for it!
What would you like for someone to do to you? Do to others….
I'm glad you posted this. What a great challenge! When Mike was out of work we had some friends give us a very sizable check right when Del was born. The memory of it has made me much more willing to give generously when the need arises. It always seems so easy to find the reasons we can't afford to give, but I think of those friends and how I felt when the check arrived and suddenly it's easy to give!Maybe you will someday be able to witness Kristin and Jason "doing to others". Who knows what your gift to them did?