Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas soup...

This afternoon, my sisters and I went to Olive Garden after seeing Ballet West's production of "The Nutcracker". On our way out, I saw a man in an old coat and jeans standing a few feet from the door. For some reason I couldn't help but look at him, and when our eyes met, he hurriedly turned away. His whole body read shame and cold and sorrow.

Without thinking, I ran to the door. I had no money, but I did have a bowl of hot, steaming soup; the untouched all-you-can-eat serving I was too full to even start. I called to the man, who didn't answer. I called again, "Sir! Here. This is for you."

The look on his face was one of utter amazement -- his eyes brightened, and the shame and sadness I had seen disappeared. As he took the soup, he cried "You've got to be kidding me! This is for me?" I told him again that yes, it was for him, and was happy to see him accept it.

Technically, I broke the law -- I don't have a permit to hand out food to someone who is homeless or panhandling. But when I saw that man's face, and saw how he could barely look at me, I absolutely couldn't walk away from him, not when I had something hot and delicious to share. Utah's laws didn't even cross my mind -- only a higher law, that of feeding the hungry and lifting those whose hands hang down, made sense to me. Seeing the change in the man's eyes, and watching as he cupped that simple bowl of soup in his hands -- wow. What I wouldn't give to be able to do that for someone every single day of my life. ‪#‎sharetheGift‬

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

be the change...

As Christmas approaches, I am even more aware of the injustices and pain that happen in the world. Today, my thoughts have turned to America, and to a story of love and sacrifice that changed one person's life forever. But as much as this story is inspiring, it has an incredibly dark side, one that I do not feel should be overlooked. And so, if you read on, please accept this as my offering to those who have little -- accept this as a plea to be the change that we need.

An angel and a hero -- Tara Starling, founder of SoulFood USA with military veteran, Kaylynn
This woman served her country, became a soldier. She fought to give us a place where we can reach our goals, raise our families, talk about anything we want -- she gave up everything to keep us safe. When she got home, she had nothing. She and her little boy have been living in a tent, in December, with belongings that fit into a closet-sized space. And yet, we have government representatives making hundreds of thousands of dollars, a president who goes on million dollar vacations using tax-payer money. This woman served her country and protected that government so that it can continue to exist -- only to come home to a tent for her and her son.

Not only that, but this group of devoted, compassionate individuals who banded together to help this single mother are required BY LAW to have a permit to help those less fortunate than themselves. Utah now requires that groups who help the homeless (especially those who provide food) have a permit. They are required by a government who rejects those men and women who give all, those men and women who sacrifice family -- birthdays, holidays, births, deaths, all of those precious moments -- who sacrifice safety, security, mental and emotional health -- rejects the men and women who keep safe the government which sends them away when they return.

More and more states are requiring these permits -- requiring that men and women who freely give of their money, time, and resources, with no thought for compensation or recognition, get permission to help those in need. It's suddenly against the law to help our fellow men, unless we get permission from governments that can't seem to help.

I'm not suggesting we become a socialist state. I'm not arguing for communism or big government. I'm pointing out that there is a major discrepancy: those who support the nation and risk it all are put on the streets, while a single man -- the president -- uses taxpayer dollars to go on million dollar vacations to Hawaii.

That isn't right.

Nor is it right that giving, nurturing people be required to have a legal document to aid the homeless with food or other material goods, like coats and clothing and bedding.

This is not the America I love. This is not the country I honor. This is a country that needs to change. This a country that is sick, that has forgotten its ideals, and that has turned its back on the aspirations which birthed it.

Do your duty in this country. Know not just who you are voting for, but what that person stands for, what he or she will do with the power that YOU give.

You decide what happens in this country. Be the change.