I have been trying for the last while to figure out how to word what I am trying to say and hopefully now the words will come.
I know in the past when I have tried to explain it I most likely have come across as ungrateful and this has never been my intent. I realize I have lost most of my social edicate and mannerism over the years being isolated as a single parent of a special needs child, so I hope the heart and soul of what I am trying to say comes through.
I think I have found the difference between a hand out and a hand up, after speaking with a dear friend about it.
A hand out is when someone generously gives of the material needs of a person, example if some one is hungry you give food, someone can't afford a bill you pay that bill, someone is in need of a service such as counselling you purchase the service. These are all admiral acts of kindness and generosity, but could something be missing.
When I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and was forced to have a hysterectomy, I was laid up for weeks. I was a new christian and I had been attending a coffee connection at a local church. I didn't know anyone real well. While I was at home recovering, I was surprised by a visit at the door from one of the ladies from the church with a gift of a meal and company. I have to say even though the meal was appreciated the company of the lady was far more valued. I was given the gift of the knowledge that someone cared enough to take time out of their lives to say that I was not alone and someone actually cared about me as a person and gave me a sense of belonging.
I never really understood the impact those ladies had on my healing until we went through the trial of 2009 and the time that followed, they had given me a more than a handout, they gave me a hand up.
In the beginning of that time I was blessed by four people, in the christian community, that offered to my family that sense of care and belonging as they sacrificed their time to be there when we needed them, even if we didn't always take them up on their offer, just knowing they were there and that they offered, made the world of difference. They searched past the "How are you doing?"" I am ok...I'm surviving..." They took the time to look behind the answer.
Season's changed and two of the four do to their own trials moved away. I was thankful though to a friendship that grew with the third person and she always knew when to say hey it's time to go for coffee and she would sit their with an open ear, filled with heart.
I would start to feel bad that I was always venting my stuff on her alone and even though we had a great God given friendship I was starting to feel alone and isolated. I would still get the assistance from the church for the counselling my family needed and I was grateful for that, but I was loosing my sense of belonging and the isolation would start growing. I was so blessed by my counselor and my dear friend, but feeling abandoned by the community I had just started feeling a part of. I had nothing of me left to reach out as my body and mind were breaking and the lack of personal human contact was feeding that brokenness of being. I was feeling like no one really cared, I was becoming a sense of obligation to those in the community to help support my material needs, as this is the christian thing to do.
When we see someone in need do we search their hearts needs or do we not go pass their material needs? Sometimes the material needs are just the scratch on the surface, with a much deeper cut below the surface.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:12-17
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