Category Archives: #give

Fight Like a Girl

I know what it means to fight like a girl. Having watched my wife fight cancer for several weeks, I know more now about what the fight looks like for countless women, men, and children who receive a diagnosis of cancer.

God only knows what the fight looks like for those who have no access to health care, may God have mercy … but if you are like my wife who does have that access, it means discovering something wrong and calling the doctor. It means that first trip to the doctor, and then another, and many more. It means that you get to meet a steady stream of receptionists and medical assistants and nurses and technicians and doctors and benefit specialists and many more people who all seem to put on a brave face for you, and yet you know that some are smiling painfully for you. It means being poked and prodded and inspected and touched and x-rayed and stabbed and injected and cut and operated-on and samples and having medicine that seems more like poison injected into you in the hope that it is smart enough to find and kill all the bad cells while leaving alone all the good cells.

To fight like a girl means feeling sick, really sick for several days at a time. It means not even being able to look at many of the foods you used to love eating. It means losing all your hair. It means headaches and nausea and experiencing many other heretofore unforeseen aches and pains, and it forces you to take a lot of pills and medicine that you don’t normally take. It means eating when you don’t feel like eating, walking when you don’t feel like walking, working when you don’t feel like working, and being civil when you don’t feel like being civil. It means sleeping a lot, and sometimes it means not being able to sleep at all.

To fight like a girl means that many friends and relatives come along to fight with you, to do what they can to hold you up and help you out. It means receiving gifts of friendship and love and food and hats and letters and giftcards and transportation and visits and tears and words of encouragement and love … it means receiving lots of love. In spite of all the challenges, it means feeling very blessed to have so much in life to hold dear.

To fight like a girl – well, it’s not a fight against anything or anyone. It is a fight for health and hope and life and love … and my lovely wife wins that fight every time.

Child Parents

The Bible teaches us not to give in order to be seen by others, that giving is best done in secret. For if you give to be seen by others, you have received your reward already … that is, your return is the adulation and reputation that others assign to you. However, God is all-knowing and everywhere-present, and when you give in secret, God is the one who will reward you.

On my bus ride to the orphanage today we stopped to allow a young couple with their baby to board. The mom started to sit next to me in the second row, but then a lady in the front row moved over so that the mom could sit next to her. The dad sat next to me, and fiddled with a baby bottle.

I was stunned at how young they were. I looked at the mom, then looked at the dad, glanced back at the mom, then glanced back at the dad. I did not want to stare, but I had never seen anything like it, and I was trying to get a read on their ages.

I would be surprised if they are teenagers yet.

12 years old! Parents! I can hardly believe it. Of course, I have no way of knowing their actual ages, but I am convinced that neither of them was 14, and when I considered 13 I thought to myself, “I really don`t think that they are even 13 years old.” I had no idea you could even spawn offspring at that age.

I still had money that my friends had given me to give away, and I had to act quickly because my exit was coming up. Mostly I had been giving away 10 peso coins, but I thought I should give this young couple one of the 20 peso bills in my wallet. And then I felt a pang in my heart, 20 pesos was not enough. So I pulled a second 20 peso bill out of my pocket, and thought that 40 pesos would be a nice surprise for them … yep, 40 pesos, that will be plenty … hmmm. My exit was in sight, and we were about to stop, but my heart was still panging. It became clear to me, 3 bills for 3 people – dad, mom, and baby – and I grabbed the third 20 peso bill I was carrying and tried to hand it to the dad who had stood up to let me out. At first he refused, but I insisted and he reluctantly accepted. I bounded off the bus and was gone.

Boy did that feel good!

But alas, 60 pesos is only about $5 measly U.S. dollars. I’m not sure why I was hesitating. If there is any consolation, 60 pesos is probably a fair amount to a 12 year old Mexican.

The Bible also talks about giving G-E-N-E-R-O-U-S-L-Y, and that is not an easy thing to do. But if we can become generous givers, the Bible indicates that the return grows at least proportionately. To paraphrase, “Give, and it shall be given to you, pressed down, shaken together, it will spill into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Who knows what that return might look like, but the return is a promise from God.

Cien Pesos

Before starting this journey, I mentioned that I would like to walk around PV and give as many 10 peso coins out as possible … and I invited anyone who was interested to participate by sending me money to give away. Thanks to each of you who donated, and I’d like to tell you about some of the people you blessed today.

But before I do that, let me just say that it is easy to get overwhelmed by it all, to get overwhelmed by how many people are in need. Bill Gates could liquidate his entire estate and give it all away in small increments … and barely touch the world. So today I tried not to feel overwhelmed, and I just gave to the people who I encountered that seemed to be needier than others.

One young man appeared intoxicated, but in spite of that I dropped a 10 peso coin into the Styrofoam cup he held to his chest.

As I walked along the boardwalk next to the beach, an older man with a walker in front of him was sitting down but he had fallen asleep with his head in his chest. I placed 10 pesos beside his pack of cigarettes, unbeknownst to him.

While walking down the sidewalk I came across an older woman in a simple dress walking very slowly. I reached in my pocket to give her 10 pesos, and she immediately launched into an animated display in Spanish while gesturing with her finger over my shoulder. I shook my head to indicate that I did not understand what she was saying, but I sensed that she was referring to other people she knew and was asking for more money. So I reached into my pocket and gave her another 10 peso coin, but she continued to gesture and ask for more. The one thing I picked up was “cien pesos” (100 pesos), which she repeated several times. Then I cowered out and lied to her by saying, “No le entendi,” which means “I don’t understand.” I may not have understood most of what she was saying, but I did understand that she was asking for 100 pesos. So then I reached in my pocket and gave her another 10 peso coin, and told her “Vaya con Dio” (Go with God) and walked away. To her that may have sounded like the empty blessing mentioned by Jesus, the thing he told his disciples not to do; Jesus cautioned his disciples not to refuse help to the poor while telling them “Go and be well fed.”

In my defense, I did think about spreading the 10 peso gifts around, that I did not want to give too much to any one person. However, as I walked along I felt increasingly guilty, and just as my self-flagellation grew more intense I came up behind an older man, hunched over, walking with a cane. His feet seemed swollen and he could barely walk. I reached in my pocket to give him a 20 peso bill, and he raised his head up slightly and with brightened eyes said “gracias.” I also said to him “Vaya con Dio,” but the knowing look he gave me revealed that he knew more about going with God than I will ever know … and that maybe God put him in my path at that moment to be a salve for my soul.