She caught my eyes right from when she walked into the pantry. I could sense that she was doing everything within her power not to meet my eyes. But, I was at the registration desk, and I knew there was no way she could avoid getting in contact with me.
I spend some time every week volunteering at a local food pantry in my community. Where we give out food and other household supplies to local families in the community.
It has been both a fulfilling and a humbling experience for me, to be able to put smiles on the faces of others. And I would encourage you to seize on any opportunity to make the lives of others easier and better.
Now, back to my story.
So, as she walked over to the registration desk in order to be registered (which is our usual practice), I gently asked her if she was doing ok.
Now, maybe why she caught my eyes was the fact that she had donned on a captivating outfit that seemed to cover up to her neck. Plus, the fact that she was wearing a hat even though there was no sun inside the pantry.
That simple question was met with a rush of serious emotions because, in no time, she immediately burst into uncontrollable tears. This lady was sobbing really profusely and her whole body shook, as she found it unable to hold herself together.
And so, I slowly guided her to the back of the room, while I asked the other staff to take care of the other families.
At the back of the pantry where I took my ‘new-found friend’ to, she was able to calm down a bit and opened up to me on the reason why she had been overtaken by emotions.
She was a victim of domestic violence and had to endure living with her abusive husband because she had nowhere else to go.
She had come to the pantry to get some food with which she was going to support her family, given that her husband sometimes starved them of funds. Especially when he had his demons possessing him.
I was touched by her story and did my little best to provide her with the information I thought she needed. I let her know that she needed to be empowered to stand up to her husband’s abuse.
I also told her about the resources we had in our community that could help her, including where and how to seek help. But she hadn’t yet gotten to that point where she felt she needed to seek help.
She felt she could still live through her husband’s abuse. And hoped that with her changing the way she related to him, he would change and turn around to be the loving man she thought she had married.
And of course, being an adult, I couldn’t force her against her will to seek the help I knew she needed. So, I gave her my best wishes and gave her a double portion of supplies that day, and since then, she has remained my ‘new-found’ friend.
I always look out for her when she comes into the pantry and inquire about her wellbeing and that of her children. Her husband has still not changed, but she is still hoping that he would someday.
What can we learn from this woman’s story?
There are so many people around us who may not be having the best of life. But sometimes we are too busy or engrossed in taking care of other things that we fail to recognize those who may be in need of our help, smile or love.
If we are serious about making this world of ours a better place, then it begins with us doing the best we can to make the lives of our neighbors better.
A smile, hug or a simple “how are you doing today?” may be all that is needed to convert someone’s bad day, to the best experience of their lives ever! Whenever possible, we should try to pay attention to the people around us and make a conscious effort to reach out to them when necessary!
To your continued success. Cheers!!!