Sunday, January 22, 2017

Your future and a tent

My weekend of Akron Snow Angels activities started early this time.   A number of weeks ago, a friend of mine mentioned what her amazing daughter has started as a tradition for her birthday.    She picks a charity, and asks everyone to bring donations for that charity.   For her 12th birthday party, she picked the Akron Snow Angels.   When I first heard this, I was excited.   As time passed, I honestly forgot the date so when I received a message last night with a picture of tables that were piled full of toothpaste, socks, soap, and coats, I was speechless.   I’m not sure that it’s still fully registered with me.   Most kids are upset when they don’t get the latest and greatest video game that they asked for...and this one wants nothing more than to know that she’s helping others.   
A fixture with the Akron Snow Angels is Ty.   Ty is just one of those kids with a smile and personality that makes him tough not to like.   Ty can often be found doing things like any other 12 year old on a Sunday morning.   He’ll be out tossing a football or joking around with his friends.   The difference is that a lot of those friends are homeless.   Ty has been involved with the Akron Snow Angels for a while now and I’m not sure that I can put into words how well he interacts with everyone at the missions.   There’s no awkwardness that you’d normally see from someone of his age.   There’s just this burning desire to help people.   His most amazing talent with the people is getting them to smile.   He just gets people to light up.   It’s a joy to watch.      
These two amazing kids are the products of proud parents that have taken an active role in deciding the future.   Not just the future of their kids, but the future for all of us.   Their active role with their kids has created compassion and hope for the future.   The generous attitude and mindset of compassion that has been instilled in these kids has taught me something.   
Lesson one: The future is what you make it.   No one else.   You.

If you’ve followed the blog, you may remember a man I wrote about last time that had just gotten a job and was in need of a set of Carhartt overalls.   The following Tuesday, someone had written into the Akron Snow Angels and asked if they could purchase the needed coveralls.    Since being involved with the Akron Snow Angels, I have seen a lot of great things happen.   This honestly ranks near the top for me.   
When we arrived at the mission, I was grateful to be able to snag a few minutes where I could actually talk to the recipient of the warmest coveralls you’ll find.   His energy was contagious.   “It's going great.   They’ve been able to give me some extra hours, so I’ll take that every chance I can get.   I get paid next Friday!   We’d love to be able to find a place as I really want to get us into a place and out of the tent.   If you know of anyplace, let me know.”   Hearing all of this and his hopeful outlook is a wonderful ray of light in a often dim place.
 
As I talked with him, I mentioned the blog and how the relationship that he and his wife shows through and has made quite the impression on me.   He instantly thanked me for getting the coveralls to him and wanted me to pass on his gratitude for the good Samaritan that purchased them for him.   He then said something so simple, but extremely profound.   “When you have nothing else, each other is all that matters.”    
Those words stuck with me the rest of the day.   I realized that what he said has a lot of truth.   In the same sense, I think that he could have made it simpler.

Lesson 2: Each other is all that matters.    

There were so many other interactions today that I had that all seemed to point me in this same direction.   Please, take a few minutes to look around to see what really matters.   When it gets cold later this week, ask yourself this…   Who do you want in your tent?