Try a Little Tenderness
by Teresa Jackson on September 4th, 2013

    Today, while doing what I do; my assistant alerted me to a visitor that specifically asked to speak with me. A local church sent her to see me, she explained. I asked my guest to come into my office. My client introduced herself. I noted that she was an articulate, well - dressed woman who appeared to be in her 60's.  After pleasantries were exchanged, I asked her how I could be of assistance to her. She began to cry. I offered her a tissue and told her to take her time. She began to share her life story, the ups and downs and reason for her visit. Her shame and embarrassment were palpable. She has worked and indeed still works part time. She is also drawing her Social Security. She is alone, with no spouse to help her pay bills or provide companionship. Her adult daughter cannot help, as her own life needs eat up every cent of her income. My new friend never imagined she would need help paying for her basic needs after a lifetime of hard work. She never imagined she would find herself alone to navigate the winter of her life. Her heart was so heavy with sadness and regret. She wept. I wept.
    Life brings many surprises. Some bring joy and unexpected gifts. Some are so painful we want to give up.  After a moment of silence, I began to share with my client the services we could provide to her at Sharing Life. I collaborated with her church to meet her most immediate needs for housing and healthcare. Together, we shared her burden. I  also put some gas in her car and her emotional hope tank. 
    I wish I could say that such an encounter is rare. It isn't. This type of meeting happens often in our facility. Desperate people, with little hope reach out hoping there is something we can do to help. Often, there is. I write a check or give someone a gift card to get gasoline, we stock a cart with groceries or fill a sack with clothing.  Refusing to judge those who enter our doors and instead loving them, offering them grace instead of guilt is the most important service we offer our clients. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that the hope I have because of Jesus can be given to those who need it most  by just by trying a little tenderness. By saying yes. By offering a tissue. By paying some rent. By telling them that He loves them and has sent them an answer through the gifts of people who care in our community. The gifts of our donors make this possible. Thank you for giving to the Lord so we can be His hands and feet to the hurting, hopeless and hungry. I love my job. I love my clients. I love my Jesus.


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