Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The "Small" Things...

It isn't always easy working in a "service" agency. It isn't just the people who are difficult and expect you to be able to provide for their every need and want; it's also the people who truly need help in an area you don't offer services.

A few months ago, we had a woman come to the office who had just moved into the area. She'd come to Lansing to be with her daughter, who has some severe emotional issues. Before she left her hometown, she'd tried to find a job in Lansing but finally had to decide which was more important, her daughter or her job. So she arrived in Lansing with no job, no apartment, no friends.

It was difficult to tell her that we don't have job counselors who are available on a walk-in basis. Much of what we do is offered either for our guests or through another local agency. We gave her the number for this agency and also recommended Michigan Works.

She was so grateful that we took the time just to listen and do what we could, that we felt badly about sending her away with "nothing in her hands," so to speak. But she paused in the doorway.

"I saw your sign. Are you part of the church?"

We told her that we are a Christian organization but non-denominational. She leaned in closer, the door still open.

"Can you pray for my daughter?" And gave us her name. Then she was gone.

What an amazing and humbling reminder to us that, at times we feel the most hopeless, there is still something we can do.

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