Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On giving....

She came in and waited quietly with her children in the waiting room, holding a bag in her lap. When I came out of the intake room, she rose and sought my attention, holding the package out to me. “It is from me and my children—a thank you for all your help” she explained in broken, accented English. Anna is from Russia and the gift she brought me was a Valentine heart full of candy! She is a valued and welcome client and her children are adorable and so well-behaved. How kind of them to think of us!

Anna is not the only client who offers us “things” as a thank you. Mona brings me wildflowers she has picked, children will save up their pennies and give them to us for the “poor kids” (these children are clients!). We have been the lucky recipients of cookies, tamales and stuffed cabbage; and one client even brought us a beautiful crucifix from Mexico which we have hanging on the wall in the waiting room. Another client takes pictures of us and offers them to us in small inexpensive frames. There is also Fred, a homeless gentleman who uses his “extra” food stamps to buy food for us to distribute to others.

At Hope House we are truly a family, and we all receive from each other. The most precious gifts we receive from our clients are not tangible items; the gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, sharing, compassion. Pretty much all of the Fruits of the Spirit! To see a smile break out on a face that came in the door looking sad; to hear a laugh from playing children on a gray and cold day when all of our clients seem COLD; to offer food to someone who looks hungry; to hear teasing and conversation among clients—all of this is a huge gift to those of us who work at Hope House.

It is why we are there—to receive as well as offer.

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