These past few days I have experienced a sequence of events that has amazed me, and spurred me on in a new and unexpected direction.
Friday night I saw the film "Slumdog Millionaire." There was much in the film about the slums of India that moved me, but none more than the image of two young boys stealing shoes from tourists visiting the Taj Mahal. They had spent their childhood barefoot, and could not believe the treasure they had found when they stumbled on a room filled with piles of shoes. My first reaction was "those poor people, who will return to find their shoes missing!" And then I realized that they, like me, would be able to simply go to the nearest store and purchase another pair. I am not a shoe-aholic; but I do have multiple pairs of shoes for different functions (dress shoes, running shoes, sandals, etc).
Then, Monday morning I was doing a tidy up and realized the velcro strap on my sneakers finally broke off. I tied them up in a bag and tossed them into the garbage. As I dropped the bag in, I had the sad feeling, and a strong impression fell upon me: I wish there was some way I could get these shoes to someone in India or Africa who really needs a pair.
Half an hour later, I realized I was ten minutes late for "Focus on the Family", a radio broadcast I try to catch in the morning. I contemplated tuning in, and decided that even if I only caught the last half, I would. The guest that morning: the founder of "Samaritan's Feet" - an organization that collects people's old shoes for children in Africa. I couldn't believe the chain of events thus far. I listened intently to his story and passion for helping others.
The last five minutes of the broadcast took an interesting turn. The interview asked "some people who are listening might be inspired to do something to help. What can they do?" "Say yes to God," came the reply. "Whatever God is inspiring you to do in your life right now, whatever your heart is convicting you of, say yes."
Hmmm. Okay. I was definitely being pushed in a new direction. But it doesn't end there. I think God knows my passion for helping people, but also my weakness in actually taking the next step.
I mentioned my experiences to my mom that afternoon on the phone. That evening, she sent me an email. She had opened her latest issue of a health magazine, and lo and behold - found an article on what to do with old runners, and three more organizations listed that take shoes to people in Africa. She reiterated my feelings that I was definitely being led somewhere with this.
And if this all wasn't enough, there was one final push. This morning I tuned in on time to "Focus on the Family." Yesterday they advertised that today's program would be about a mother who had found a way to serve in a special way. But that program did not air. For some reason, today was a rebroadcast of yesterday's program. The exact interview, two days in a row. I have never known this to happen on this station, with this radio show. But I heard again, word for word, the interview with the founder of Samaritan's Feet.
On my walk this morning, I mulled over these experiences, wondering and pondering. I felt inadequate. I had no idea where to begin. I felt that I should really pass on this one, not being in a position to be the one to start anything. I thought of my young family, and that maybe this isn't the time in my life to do this. I felt inexperienced, never having worked for a charity organization.
Then I thought about the prophets of the scriptures. I thought of all the tasks they were asked to do, things they had no idea where to begin. I thought of Noah building an ark; I thought of Esther pleading for the lives of her people. I realized that many new projects and ideas come to people who have no idea where to begin. But I knew, most of all, the first step was simply to say "yes". Yes, I will do this. Somehow, I will take this journey, hand in hand with God and walking the path he has so clearly set before me.