I went shopping on Saturday morning. Along with a group of individuals from church, I stuffed clothing into several different shopping bags. We found some things we were looking for and there were other things on our list that we could not find on any of the racks. There seemed to be a shortage of things, fact. There was not enough.
You see, we were "shopping" at Rachael's Women's Center, a day shelter for homeless women located a few blocks from Mount Vernon Place. As part of our building rededication week, we felt it was important for us to spend time in the community, giving back to others as we have received so much. We were assigned to go to Rachael's to help sort through their donations, folding clothing, sorting it by size and then placing it on new racks that we bought for the purpose. When we were done sorting through the clothing, we were given a wish list - a list of individual names along with the items of clothing they needed most:
Connie: shoes size 9, coat extra large, t-shirt
Julie: Size 11 Keds Sneakers
Beverly: Size 18 pants
Carol: Size 12 pants, scarf and hat
The list went on and on but the supplies did not. There were a lot of things - but not the right things. And, I keep thinking about the experience.
I typically wear a size 12, but not all size 12s are the same. I cannot imagine anyone selecting a pair of jeans for me that would actually fit. I cannot imagine anyone picking out the one shirt that would be my own. I cannot imagine anyone - no one - doing my clothes shopping for me. I prefer a large selection. I like choices. I like to try things on.
And this is why it is important for me to spend time in places like Rachael's. Rachael's reminds me of what I have. Experiences like this tell me again how blessed I am and how little gratitude I express. Mornings like the one I spent at Rachael's have a way of pushing me to see all that I have as gift.
So, I am going shopping. I am going shopping for some larger size pants and some t-shirts - not for me - but for the women at Rachael's. To whom much has been given - much is owed.