As I read through the news and reflect on the last couple of years of my life, certain thoughts come to my mind...thoughts of experiences, both good and bad. I know there are people hurting right now...hurting because they've lost their jobs and can't provide for their loved ones. There are people hurting because they don't know where there next dollar or meal is going to come from. They've been pushed into a corner...they've been dogged by humiliation. It seems this is every day's news story. It's the same story big town or small. I can't help but wince at the news because I was there just a couple years ago. We were on the brink of financial ruin with no where to turn. It was the hardest time in my life. The anguish of not being able to provide for my family was overwhelming.
Fast forward a few years, and, by all appearances, we survived...we turned the corner. But, the rawness of the experience is still tangible. I reflect on the past and can finally discern what was gained and lost by the experience. I learned that I love my family...my wife and my children. As a father and a husband, my greatest pride is being able to provide for them. I want to do everything to help my wife and children reach their fullest potential and live a full life. That is what's most important to me.
While growing up...I was taught many things both in word and deed. Up until this experience, those things seemed to be important. But, during those tough financial years, it all seemed to melt away. Not knowing if you'd be able to make the mortgage or bring home groceries was the priority. Nothing seemed to alleviate the stress and anxiety. Ultimately, all that was left was my desire to adequately provide for my family. What kind of man would I be if I could not do that?
What does this have to do with Christmas? Well, if you see someone or know of someone down on their luck, offer a prayer for them. If you can spare something for them, do so. The reality is everyone is just a razor's edge from being forced to live such a reality...especially in these challenging times. No one's immune. No one's invulnerable. Luck changes. You never know...you just might be the one asking for help some day. Don't look at the person in need as someone being cursed for a bad deed, but, rather, imagine yourself in his or her shoes. Offer a prayer.