Like a lot of Texans, I have been closely watching the flooding situation in Houston. I have been amazed at the outpouring of the beauty of the human spirit as images and stories of trapped residents, flooded homes, unbelievable loss, and recovery efforts fill our hearts and minds. Though I live almost 300 miles from Harvey’s wrath and relentless devastation, I live close enough to know many whose friends and families are stranded, alone, and completely helpless. I live close enough to know many who are trying to get to Houston, in any way possible, to help and to save! And I live close enough to see shelters being prepared, donations being gathered, and homes being opened to any and all who need to be saved!
A few days ago, a Facebook friend posted that she had made several loaves of homemade bread that she was going to be delivering to those who were being impacted by the torrential rains. She lives 10 minutes from some hard hit areas and she wanted to help in any way she could. She was going to drive as far in to the flooded neighborhoods as she could get and try to deliver as many loaves of fresh bread as possible to friends and strangers. It seemed like such a small and simple thing. Compared to the thousands who were stranded and struggling, could a few loaves of bread really make a difference? Will a loaf of bread dry up the flooded homes? Will a loaf of bread replace all that is being lost? The answer to those questions is an obvious “No”-
BUT, will a loaf of bread buy a little hope? Will a loaf of bread be the simple touch from Heaven that one family needs? Can one loaf of bread sustain, lift, nourish, and support a family for a brief moment? Can a loaf of bread purchase faith in the days to come… And to those questions, I am declaring that the answer is a resounding YES!!! The spiritual representation of BREAD is often related to the celestial attributes of LOVE, CHARITY, MERCY, GRACE, and HOPE- which is exactly why I believe her offering of bread was anything but small and simple!
A DJ on the radio this morning suggested we look inside ourselves, to our God given talents and abilities, and find what we can do to support the residents of Houston at this time.
A text message from a dear friend suggested that we follow a list of ‘immediate needs’ and donate what we could to be delivered to the outskirts of the flood waters- those places where flood evacuees will go first before departing Houston for dry ground. Another message suggested that we bring games for families stranded at the convention centers being staged for the thousands that will be displaced for weeks and months.
During her husbands final days of chemotherapy, a dear friend wrote a message to the many friends and family who wanted desperately to help her in anyway they could; she wrote,
Please look inside your hearts and ask yourself, ‘What is MY love language? What would I need, what would I yearn for, what would I be lacking?’ I assure you that if your love language is service, we have needs you can meet. If your love language is kind words, we need to hear your thoughts on hope and love. Serve with what you’ve been given. Serve in whatever way you can.
I’ve thought on these sentiments many times over the past several days. The question that is so easy to ask “What do you need” or the offering of “Let me know what I can do to help” but both are almost impossible questions to answer if you are the one in the middle of a flood, or personal downpour. In the middle of utter chaos and confusion, the last thing a stranded and lost person can do is think of ways to be served. In all honesty, people trapped on a literal or figurative roof waiting for help is barely able to think of the next breath.
So serve with all your heart. Serve with your God given talents. Serve how you would need to be served– but whatever you do SERVE; Share your Bread! When you serve with your heart, so much more will be experienced than a simple act of kindness. Service is not always about what you give or what you do- it is about the feeling of love and compassion; hope and grace that comes THROUGH your serving hands. Service is the way Heaven’s hand reach down and touch those who need it most- offering just enough faith to move into the next moment.