Posts Tagged ‘refugee’

I write novels, with hopefully inspiring heroes and heroines in them.  But I have decided I don’t need to look very far at all to find the real heroes and heroines of this world.  Mostly, they see themselves as ordinary people not doing anything special other than getting on with their lives as best they can.  Yet their courage and determination in the face of great difficulty make me feel very humble indeed.

A few weeks ago, I talked with one such person – a friend from years ago.  Back then, both our families had great hopes and plans for the future, yet my friend’s journey unfolded in a way she – and we – would never ever have envisaged or hoped for.  You see, after some years, certain actions of her husband tore the family apart, causing them untold pain and grief.

Eventually the husband married someone else and my friend was left to care for her children and somehow get over her own grief in the process.  She had always been a hard worker, but now she redoubled her efforts to care for the family.  She managed to put a deposit down on an older cottage and continued working at whatever job she could get, often packing two or three into one day.  Eventually both children left home, although one would return from time to time needing constant support from past emotional trauma.  At one stage, my friend took in a refugee family, helping to get them on their feet.  Then just as she thought she might slow down a little, she had to pay for expensive repairs to her house, almost losing it to the bank in the process.  And soon after, she found herself sheltering her adult child and grandchild again, after a relationship breakdown.

Now, nearing retirement age, she is desperately tired but needs to continue working. As we talked, I found myself wishing I had a few thousand dollars spare – anything to lift my friend’s burden.  Yet she wasn’t complaining – in fact, quite the opposite.  I tried to tell her she deserved not just one medal but many – yet she wouldn’t hear of it.  ‘Well, what else can you do?’ she said in a matter-of-fact voice. ‘You just get on with it.’ She went on to talk about how thankful she is and how hard it is for so many others right now.  We mentioned the homeless people sleeping on the streets – and it was then that her words touched me most.

“You know, when I see these people, I really wish I could help.  I often say to Jesus, ‘But I have two coats!’ And yet he knows I do need them for my work.”

Two coats, I think to myself – I have so much more than my friend, but yet she feels greedy having two coats!  She has learnt to go on loving, despite the knocks that life has dealt her and to continue having that soft, merciful heart towards others that so delights God’s own heart.  Her attitude challenges me deeply, as do some words the apostle John wrote:

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:17-18)

So how about you?  Do you have two coats?

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