August 2017 Column Winner

Serving others
Kaylea Hutson-Miller, The Grove Sun

So, I’m at work.
I’ve got the “closed” sign on the door, but haven’t locked myself in.
I’m just trying to get a bit more done, before the weekend. The streets of Grove are filled with folks going to local restaurants.
It’s a busy Friday night on Third Street.
In walks in a sweet older woman, with lots of “wear and tear” on her face, pulling a small rolling bag.
She wanted to know – through her tears – if I knew anyone who would buy an afghan she made, so she could have gas to get to West Helena, Arkansas.
We get lots of walkins like this. For some reason, this time, (I credit God, not myself) I asked her where her truck was parked.
It turned out to be around the corner. I asked her if it was close to Jiffy Market – it was – so I met her (her husband was driving) at the station to put gas in the old, beat up flatbed farm truck.
She told me they were trying to get from the panhandle of Oklahoma to the otherside of Arkansas to be with a sick relative. Her face reminded me of the people impacted by the Dust Bowl, tired, haggard and worn.
I made sure they had a full tank of gas, sandwiches and bottles of water. The sweet clerk gave them some other treats and a bit of cash.
The woman (I never did officially meet her husband) hoped our gifts would get them to Little Rock – and then maybe someone else might help them out.
I don’t say this for accolades or pats on the back. In fact, most of the time I was doing this, my journalistic cynical side was yelling in my ear “you’re an idiot,” “you’re a fool to trust them.”
Somehow though, in this moment in time, the other voice, one with kindness and gentleness, filled my spirit with peace as it whispered “trust me,” “spread kindness,” “help someone.”
For me, it was a God moment. One of those times when the unexplainable happens. A divine appointment of sorts.
I’ve had several of those moments this summer. Times when the journalism cynic was put aside, and my Pollyanna attitude took over.
Oh, I wasn’t flippant about it. A lot of times it was a Yin/Yang struggle. As the Lawman frequently reminds me, who am I to discount a God moment, or lessen the joy that comes from being present, when someone receives an unexpected and maybe undeserved gift.
As I stood there, in the heat, I kept thinking, what if it was my mom – or grandma – who was trying to get somewhere. Who would help them if they were in need?
Sure, I could have bought a book or some music with the $40, or the Lawman and I could have caught a movie, but instead, I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something different.
Maybe, just maybe, the $40 made a difference in ways I can never understand.
Since this experience – two weeks ago today – I’ve experienced several God moments.
I’ve watched as middle and high school students gave up their time, in the midst of a horribly hot week, to help others in need through home improvement projects.
I talked with two elementary students who used their creativity to raise funds to help sailors needing a bit of cheer.
I also witnessed members of this community rally around a young man, in need of basic items – food, shelter and love. People, strangers, have stepped up to help him complete his senior year in a positive way.
As we finish summer, and begin to turn our thoughts toward fall, I challenge you to think about how you can help someone.
What if we all step out of our comfort zones this year, put aside the cynical spirit that’s easy to acquire, and instead, find ways to spread joy.
Maybe, just maybe, our corner of the world would be an even better place to live. What can you do today, that makes a difference?

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