Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Inspiration/Block (for the writer) (05/20/10)
TITLE: To Breathe Deeply
By Barbara Mahler
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During the summer of 2007 and through the winter of 2008 I was privileged to be a missionary in Appalachia. Living and working in eastern Kentucky provided me with inspiring events which I would not have otherwise experienced. However, one in particular was especially inspiring – indeed I “breathed deeply.”
On a cool afternoon in late fall I was closing the food pantry I manned when a young man came bounding in saying that he hoped it was not too late to get some food.
I had not seen this person before and reminded myself that I had to get the required paperwork prior to giving him the provisions. The young man was unique in that he apologized for being there and was not functionally illiterate as are many who came to the pantry.
“I have a degree in engineering,” he told me as he filled out the forms. “When I lost my job my wife and I came here to be with our families,” he continued. “But our savings have run out; we have three young children and no food left.”
As I filled the bags with as much as I could give I tried to put him at ease by asking about his family.
“How old are your children?”
The fearful expression on the young man’s face diminished as we continued our conversation.
“We have three boys,” he replied. “They’re eight, six and two.”
He went on to speak of his faith and belief that the Lord would provide, “as long as we do our part,” he said.
When the bags of food were all packed in his car I expected the man to be on his way, but he lingered and our conversation continued. I asked if he and his family went to church.
“We used to, but since we’ve moved and things have been so difficult we don’t have a regular church.”
“Sounds like your children are the right age for the story hour I lead on Saturday evenings,” I went on to tell him. “It would be fun for them – we even have milk and cookies afterward,” I urged.
When he asked for more details I invited him to follow me into the church so I could give him printed information about the story hour.
“I’ve never been in a Catholic church,” he said as we entered the building.
This impromptu meeting provided me with an opportunity to witness my faith – what grounds and supports me especially during difficult times, but more importantly the young man and I became profoundly aware of what we hold in common – our belief in our loving God and Father who created us and keeps us in His loving care. We breathed in deeply God’s presence.
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