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Unconditional empathy & action: Can we model it without the storm? “Hands and feet in Moore, OK May 23, 2013”

June 27, 2013


In Moore, Ok, a place of complete chaos and destruction I witnessed such an outpouring of sympathy and compassion, not just from the volunteers but also from their neighbors.   There was an unconditional empathy and immediately earned regard between everyone within the spray of the tornado’s destruction.  Not one neighbor accused the other of not understanding what they had been through for no matter the damage, whether it was a tree down or a home leveled, they all were walking through a very dark valley filled with challenges, loss and pain.  The air of unreserved acceptance and respect was a feeling that I wish I could have bottled and brought back with me.  Why can’t that hover over every neighborhood without having to experience a horrific spin of nature?  It is not for us to judge whether another earned their difficult plot in life or if they were doing all they could to reach the potential that we feel they should.  It is for us to do what we can, when we can, with as much as we can offer. 



As I navigated the car back home from Moore,  I spent more than 13 hours thinking about everything I had experienced, learned, and now carried with me.  The most pressing feeling was to go back.  There is need for workers to come with a true and pure heart to help and work to rebuild and repair and there will be for a very long time.  It is one of the easiest places to find oneself needed in the midst of such devastation.  What I feel I was reminded on that long drive (aka. forced mediation time) is that I have been called to open eyes and hearts to see need that requires just as much unconditional generosity, acceptance, and compassion and move hands and feet to meet those needs in an place that is not hard to get to and won’t require taking days off of work:  here.  There is most genuine and true need for a compassionate heart and willing hands and feet right here within our arm’s reach. 


Knowing this and hoping to meet these needs in 2012 I created Mission Stay Saturdays. 


Do you find it hard to believe that there is a need in our corner of the world?  Join us and you might meet:


*A man in his 70s who lives alone on a property much larger than his ability to tend to.  We helped him cut down a diseased tree. Something he could not afford to pay for a company to do.  We gave him a week off of mowing and completed that task for him.


* A 98 year old woman whose 84 year old “baby sister” does her best to travel from Iowa to check on her every 6-8 weeks.  We tended to her lawn, trimmed her property and cleared branches off of her garage roof that concerned her. 


*A woman in her 70s who is a prisoner in her home due to being sentenced to physical conditions the prohibit her from even moving freely throughout her home.  We helped by mowing, trimming and hauling away a pile of dead branches.  Her home needs to be painted and have some repairs.  She would love to be able to sell, move and be situated in a new “home” that would meet her physical limitations.  This would take a most generous gift from a company that found pity on her struggles and would offer this massive task with the only payment to be a tax deductible donation letter.  Know anyone this may interest?


* The 75 year old former nurse who due to the physical demands of her job (lifting patients) has lost feeling in her foot from 4 surgeries attempting to repair the damage to her back.  She now finds herself tending to the physical and emotional needs of her 84 year old husband who is confined to his wheelchair suffering from kidney failure and dementia needing dialysis 3 times a week.  She sleeps on a sofa every night to be next to him and respond to his needs as well as assist him with his medical requirements.  After all of these years of life both of these friends find themselves not only unable to enjoy retirement but having to toil through every single day.  No relief for the caregiver because they cannot afford home care assistance. 


* The family who has found job loss not as painful as losing their home; illness not as painful as losing a loved one; and having to play “which bill can wait to be paid” not as painful as not being able to put food on the table or gas in the car.  Hope and Friendship visited to tend to their lawn and complete some needed home repairs.


We have visited the widows, the single moms, the home bound, the financially strapped, the handicapped and the physically capable but emotionally drained who needed this gift to allow them time to grieve the loss of a loved one. 


* The elderly friend whose roof was damaged during a recent storm.  In years prior he would’ve been up on that roof repairing the damage before anyone was aware it had occurred.  He was strong, healthy, able and proud of it.  Now he panics at the thought of his home being damaged from forecasted storms and the realization of having to hire someone to do what he no longer can do with funds he does not have.  He does something that humbles his independent spirit, he asks for help.  You spread the word and help came in the form of a friend fitting this repair into his workday and doing it at the cost of material.  The handshakes, the countless thank you’s, the smile and look of relief on his face were priceless.  I do not expect free work to meet needs, I simply want to offer quality work, honest ethics and compassion to someone in need.  I understand the value of your time and the cost of operating a business and I understand the helpless feeling of needing a repair and the realization that I do not have the funds to make it happen.  I want to simply be a conduit from those who can sponsor the cost to those that will provide that repair for our friend in need. 



Who do you know that could use this gift of love and act of kindness? 


Who do you know that could help make it happen?


Do what you can, where you live, when you are able, with what you have to offer.  Spread ripples by dropping that small act of kindness into the ocean of need.


The feeling that is created from looking into the most grateful face of a friend that has received that compassion is one that I cannot put into words.  You yourself would have to experience it to be able to appreciate the boost it gives to your own spirit. 




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