There is a little girl at our church whose name is Grace. Her mom brings her periodically to the Breakfast Club, where we prepare a hardy and nutritious breakfast for anybody who comes through the door on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month. We usually feed anywhere between 100 to 200 people, who are homeless or simply poor. Grace has been coming since she was itty-bitty and has helped serve eggs, fruit, sausage, bread pudding or whatever else we concoct with the donated food from MEND. Grace is quiet and helpful and a bit shy when it comes to interacting with all of us adults, who are either fellow volunteers or guests, as we call our diners.
About a month ago, Grace told her mom that she wanted to start a “committee” or a “movement” so that people would help the homeless. She had already made a sign asking people to donate clothes and she asked if she could put a box in front of their house and also one at her mom’s work. Her mother agreed, but confided to her friends that she hoped that “Grace’s faith in human compassion was correct.”
Last Saturday, we had our usual Breakfast Club. However, this one was slightly different. From my vantage point in the kitchen, I saw Grace and her mom come into the parish hall and my husband, Ray, the coordinator of the Breakfast Club, greet them. After they exchanged a few quiet words, Ray headed off in one direction while they walked back out the door. The next thing I knew, Ray was dragging in two large shelves and Grace and her mom were back with several boxes. It wasn’t long before the shelves were filled with clothes and our breakfast guests were gathering to peruse what was there. I watched Grace – not a shred of ego in her demeanor – stand back and watch as the needy quietly sifted through different sizes and styles and found pieces of clothing that would work best for them. Later, Grace came into the kitchen and all of us volunteers gave her a round of applause for her fine work. Grace looked pleased, but also a little surprised. It was clear from her reaction that she hadn’t made this effort to garner favor with adults. She had done it for one clear reason: there are those among us who need our help.
I expect we’ll see Grace and her boxes of clothes again. More clothes, different clothes. All the ones she brought last Saturday have now found new homes.
A little girl’s mission teaches us all a great truth. When you operate from the belief that people will act with compassion, they will often prove you right. That is called living up to another’s expectations.
I just keep thinking if this new generation of kids is anything like Grace, then this world of ours is going to be just fine.
Grace begets grace, after all. Pure and simple.
Grace and Ray