Personal Blog by Rhonda Crowdis Hardisty

My family signed up earlier in the month to spend a few hours today helping out a family who was less fortunate. The church we attend calls is Life Giving Weekend. Our assignment: to paint a house with a group from our church. We bought our volunteer shirts and were happy to put them on this morning to give back to the community in our own way. It was just something we wanted to be a part of, no reason in particular, just an opportunity for a good deed. Little did we know just how much WE would receive from this act of giving.

We headed to the car about a quarter to 8:00 this morning to find a flat tire on one of the two vehicles we would need to get all 6 of us to the job site. So, while my husband worked on fixing the tire, my oldest daughter and I headed to Wal-Mart for extra supplies and hoped to pick up some coffee from our favorite place while we were out. We grabbed what we needed and got in line at the register of our favorite cashier who is always so friendly and helpful. Just as we finished paying for our items, she noticed our shirts and asked if we were painting houses on north side. I admitted that we were, and she continued to tell us that there was a sign in her families yard that matched our shirts. She said that the house our church is painting on a certain street is her house, and asked if we had worked there yesterday. I said no, but we were on our way to the area now. I thanked her for her help with our purchase, and she thanked us for our help in her neighborhood.

I teared up. This was not just some stranger whose house we might have the opportunity to paint. This was a real person who we see and interact with several times each week. I was also very touched by her sincere thankfulness.

We were scheduled to work on another house in the neighborhood, but since we were running late due to the flat tire, they already had enough help. So, the shuttle driver dropped us off at HER house! We were actually going to get to paint the house of the cashier at Wal-Mart we had just spoken to moments before. I cannot tell you how much this meant to my family. Knowing that this house belonged to someone with whom we had a connection made us want to work that much harder to make it perfect. We had a greater stake in doing it right.

I met her Dad, her two sisters, and her daughter. Her Dad told me about a family with a 9 month old child who needed clothes and how they were going to go help that family. There I was helping this family and they were going to help another family. This really brought home that they were just like me. They may live in an older house in an older neighborhood, but they were people who care about people just like my family.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to give to another family today and surprised by how much my family received through our giving! It was not just life giving to the families who we served, but also to the families who served.

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