Thursday, December 13, 2007

Come on! Ring that bell!

I rang that bell yesterday! You know the one. The Salvation Army bell! Here where I live, the Salvation Army was looking for volunteers to ring the bell outside of stores during the Christmas season. Since I don't have much money to give, I thought I could certainly donate my time. Yesterday was the second time I've rung the bell. I rang it two weeks ago in front of Dillard's department store and yesterday I rang in front of Fry's grocery store. Let me tell you a few things I learned while ringing in front of Fry's yesterday.

People are very generous. Despite the doom and gloom reports by the media about the economy and the lack of change in people's pockets, people are still willing to give what they have. I don't know the exact ratio of people who gave to people who walked by yesterday, but I do know that my kettle was pretty full by the end of my three hour shift. I was pleasantly surprised at people's generosity.

People are also quite receptive to a "Merry Christmas!" Being at the Salvation Army kettle gives you the built-in privilege of saying a hearty "Merry Christmas!" with no apologies needed. The SA has already acquired permission to be in front of the store, so the ringer has the right to wish passersby a merry Christmas and even say, "God bless you!" I did both. And no one looked the least bit offended. And this is in Arizona, mind you. Not the Bible belt. In fact, many people looked me right in the eye and said something like, "Merry Christmas to you. None of that 'Happy Holidays' for me!" Some even wished me a blessed Christmas. Good for them!

One last rather sad observation. There are a lot of people out there who have a really hard time getting around. Hear my heart on this one. I have often wondered why in the world we need so many handicapped parking spaces. Like many of you, I have often scoffed at the number of people riding around stores in little carts with baskets. Couldn't most of these people just get up and walk around the store like most of us? Aren't many of them just plain lazy? You know what? They're not lazy. They're hurting and struggling.

As I stood at the entrance of Fry's for three hours yesterday I saw so many people come through the doors who were struggling just to stand up and put one foot in front of another. Every time I turned around there was someone either using a cane and barely making it, using crutches and obviously struggling, or moving so painfully slow that it made me hurt just watching them. There are a lot of people out there who obviously have a hard time just getting up and getting around each day. I was amazed and grieved. I could tell that the circumstances were different for each person. Some had obvious injuries, some had physical defects or handicaps, some were very old and time had robbed them of strength and flexibility, some were very overweight (but which came first, the handicap or the weight gain I do not presume to know), and some were a mystery, but obviously struggling all the same. I kid you not, for every 5-8 people who came in with good mobility there was another person who struggled to walk or move about.

And here's one more thing you need to know. The clear majority of those people walked into Fry's. They did not opt for a motorized cart. They moved slowly and laboriously, but they walked. They used canes or crutches or leaned heavily on a grocery cart, but they walked. Bless their hearts and their aching bones, joints, or muscles. A few did use carts, but after seeing so much struggling going on, I was thankful for those carts and thankful those people could use them to go in the store and do their shopping. I have to tell you, I've had a complete heart change on this issue. My eyes were open to a struggle that I had no idea was shared by so many. After standing at Fry's for three hours my legs ached and I was ready to sit down. But I was so glad I could stand and I could walk. By the looks of things, mobility is something none of us should take for granted. It's a huge blessing. Take it from me, you need to thank God for those legs of yours. There are a lot of people who would if they could!

1 comment:

Toni said...

I think you are right on with this one! We tend to take our mobility for granted....I see my mother struggling just to get from her front door to the car and I have to look at myself when I complain about my feet feeling sore from being on them all day or my shoulders hurting from cleaning the house or lifting something heavy at work. Rather than complain, I should be grateful that I am able to be on my feet all day and able to lift and do my own housework. It's humbling to see others struggle so at tasks that some of us can do effortlessly. Let's remember to pray for those who stuggle daily at the tasks we take for granted every day, and be quick to help them whenever and however we can.