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12 years of lessons shared in 12 days- Day 6- Hands meeting Hands on a most difficult day

December 19, 2016

12 days before Christmas

12 lessons I’ve learned from pulling together the

12 Hope and Friendship Christmas Dinner Delivery Days

It was 2 weeks from Christmas 2005. My eyes were opened to a need I had never felt or seen before only by having been broken. I had simultaneously experienced the end of a 16 year marriage due to a husband choosing another, as I walked with my father through his final 14 months on this earth, my best friend, the one who truly knew me being cut from his mold would not be at the Christmas table.

I drove through Lemont on Thanksgiving Night wondering who else dreaded Christmas Day. Only by being broken did my eyes see a need that I had so easily overlooked. God put an idea in my head and heart yet I ignored it for 2 weeks. Jonah had to be swallowed by a whale to comply; it didn’t take that drastic of a action, but close.

I dragged my feet, blocked the voice and ignored the call for 2 weeks. Then I gave in. Two weeks prior to Christmas I told a friend this crazy idea to host a dinner for those who had no table to pull up to. Then she told a friend and within those two weeks I was invited to speak at Lemont Junior Women’s Club, Lemont District 113a PTA, and other school and organization meetings. All I asked for was cooked food to fill a table and the invitation to join me was open to all who ached at the thought of dragging themselves through the day.

On Christmas Day twelve of us, including my mother (who lovingly supported and ventured into this crazy idea with me), gathered at a table and feasted on food prepared for us by friends. We laughed, we comforted, we shared stories and hugs. We united and enjoyed a beautiful meal on a day we all had dreaded to step into.

When we finished dinner we packed up all of the food that remained and delivered to a few other houses in our community that we knew were in a struggle as well as to the two Joliet Homeless Shelters.

What would have been a most painful Christmas Day turned into a beautiful union of friends who needed the companionship and comfort of another who understood the ache the day presented. We were gifted with a meal that nourished our body and spirit.

One week from today many more than 12 will gather to serve dozens of homes that are struggling right here and right now. Though there will always be need, if we are not attempting to meet the needs right here within our arm’s reach we are missing the opportunity to be love, hope, light and compassion to our very neighbor.

There is such a small degree, a short plunge, between being one that can offer assistance to the one that is in the storm. A divorce. The lost of a loved one. A job loss. A devastating health prognosis. Needs are not only financial, debilitating needs are physical and emotional. Life blows are unplanned.

I am so very thankful for all of you who join with me in recognizing and acting on the most simply yet most powerful gift of arriving at the door of a home that is hurting with the humble gift of a home cooked Christmas Dinner that will, and has, nourished countless bodies and spirits.

As a friend extends their arms offering the gift of a Christmas Dinner, another friend extends theirs’ humbling receiving it. For a moment, for that night, we are connecting, lifting and healing. Thank you for making that as important to you as it is to me to meet those on a most difficult day making it a most blessed and wonderful gift of unconditional love, hope and friendship.

Want to be a part of this year’s Hope and Friendship Christmas Outreaches? Email terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

Visit www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

 

~ Sunday December 18, 2016

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