Into the office, walked in this frail looking, frame of a man. He had two children on either side of him. His beautiful, yet weary looking wife walked behind. This is a young family of four – father, mother and two young children (7 and 2 years old). They had come to The Salvation Army to register for Christmas assistance.
The 32 year-old father, in between thoughtful pauses, proudly explained how he had been the family’s bread winner. He shared a few of his hopes and dreams. However, this was no longer possible. His dreams were flickering away, like a dying flame. Sadly, he was recently diagnosed with kidney failure. This is not how life should be. Daddy should be able to work till retirement. Daddy should be able to celebrate his children’s milestones – graduations, weddings, the birth of his grandchildren, and so forth. But this was not to be.
The wife listened intently. She then, shyly and softly, mentioned how she had struggled to find gainful employment. She desperately wants to help ease her husband’s financial concerns. She is capable and willing to work. She has only been able to find side jobs cleaning houses.
The Salvation Army employee, Taneya, leans forward and asks the husband, “What would you want for Christmas?” If I were the one asked that question, I would have said, “James Bond memorabilia, Coca-Cola collectibles, a Kobe Bryant jersey, or a Wayne Rooney Manchester United jersey.” But not this father. In his frail, broken voice he responds, “I do not need anything material. Nothing for me. Please just help my children.”
With a nod of affirmation, Taneya turns to look at the wife. She asks the same question. The wife’s eyes welled up; warm glittery tears flowed down her rosy cheeks. She reaches for the Kleenex box and utters these words, “I am praying that my husband doesn’t die.”
The husband looked at his wife, touched her cheek and said, “Please don’t cry, honey. It’s going to be OK.”
A reporter asked me yesterday, “Captain Terry, why do you do what you do?” Here is my response:
- I do what I do to help such families.
- I do what I do to be privy to these intimate family moments.
- I do what I do to bring hope to the hopeless; and healing to the hurting.
- I do what I do to bring sunshine to a family’s cloudy condition.
- I do what I do because I am no better than these families. They remind me of where I once was.
- I do what I do, because God commands me to love the least, and the lost.
- I do what I do, because I willingly respond to God’s call, to give a cup of cool water in His name.
- I do what I do because there is nothing else I would rather be doing.
- I do what I do because I see Jesus on the little children’s faces.
- Thank you Jesus for the privilege to serve you.