Monday, October 8, 2007

What would you give to a stranger?

Let me tell you about a couple who live in our community. Society likes to call them 'disadvantaged' as if their situation were nothing more than a mild inconvenience. This couple may not be all that well known beyond their own circle of friends. They are most often seen at church; they sit at the back, usually not saying too much until spoken to, but are committed volunteers who work hard behind the scenes.

He is a paraplegic in constant battle with pressure sores; she has scoliosis and lives with chronic pain. They survive on a small disability pensions. Independence is precious to them. You will never hear them complain. If you asked, they would say they feel blessed. Their faith in God and their love for each other is an inspiration to all who do know them.

They need a new home. The mobile home they were living in will be demolished this week. However, a number of community volunteers have decided to launch a community house-raising. A home to call their own.

It’s a leap of faith. There are no guarantees that money or donors will be found for all the materials required. There are no assurances that labour will be available when needed. There are no government grants or funding being sought, as time is of the essence.

But when you step forward in love, and in faith, your steps become sure and firm.

So far, the response has been phenomenal. Several Hillsborough-area building contractors have offered to help. We have an electrician, plumber, architect and engineer volunteering time and resources. Businesses offered materials. Family groups have pooled resources. Many don't even know this couple.

In fact, the support has been so positive, that site preparation for the small two bedroom barrier-free home will begin next week – only two weeks after the idea took form. Everyone who contributes will be doing so purely from the heart, without expectation of anything in return, other than the knowledge they have responded to need. There will be no charitable receipts offered.

Of all the things that are required of us in life, love for each other is the most important. It is also the riskiest. Love requires action. To act in love will always require sacrifice; commitment, time, resources.

I believe this Albert County needs this project as much as this couple needs a home. This community needs a reason to remember it has a heart. It needs a reason to show it and to act upon it.

Sometimes, you hear a whisper – a still, small voice - deep inside your heart and you just know you need to listen. Is this is one of those times for you?

If someone asked you to show love to a stranger, what would you say?

If you have time, expertise, or donations to offer, please call Pat Carr at 734-2367.

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