On Wednesday, I was writing the last few lines of my last blog post, trying to figure out how to wrap it all up, when the doorbell rang. It was about four in the afternoon, and I assumed it was my daughter, not bothering to try the door (which was unlocked) before ringing the bell. When I got up, irritation written all over my face, to let her in and chastise her, I saw I'd been wrong. Yes, my adored one was at the door. But it wasn't my daughter.
It was this.
I stared in shock at the UPS man as he hopped in his truck and drove away. Then I burst into tears, (which is when my daughter arrived on the scene).
It turns out that several of my friends, having read my saga of kitchen appliance longing, thought it would be a hoot to chip in and cause one to arrive at my door. So they did. They would have been gratified if they had seen my flabbergasted response. A hoot, indeed. If you have any idea how it feels to know that many people came together on your behalf, just to make you smile (and cry) you're a lucky person. It may be the single nicest thing anyone's ever done for me in 44 1/2 years.
On that same day, another friend messaged me just to see how things were going. I responded, including an update on my husband's job search. The friend was unaware he'd been liberated from his employment, and suggested I pray for St. Xenia's intercession, as she's been known to help those seeking employment. So of course I had to find out about St. Xenia.
She was a devout Russian woman who was widowed young. After her husband's sudden death, she gave all her belongings--ALL, including her house--to the poor and wandered about, homeless. People thought she was crazy, not only for that act but because she wandered around saying crazy-sounding things. Somebody figured out that "crazy" meant prophetic; her visions were from God. And it turned out that everybody who helped her--merchants who gave her food, cab drivers who gave her rides--was blessed with increased business. People started competing to help her, but she took only what she needed.
I've been praying, and will continue to pray, for St. Xenia's intercession for my husband. And while I realize that saints aren't vending machines--you don't just press the right buttons and get the thing you ordered--it occurs to me that it might be pleasing to this saint if I gave some of my possessions to the poor.
I could sell my shiny new mixer and donate the proceeds to charity. But that would be an insult to the dear friends who conspired to make me so happy. A slap in the face, and I could never do that to these wonderful women. Who may possibly be expecting homemade pastries.
Then, like a slap in the face (the helpful, wake-up kind) it hit me: A way to honor St. Xenia and these friends who are clearly concerned about making sure others have good food to eat.
There's this tiny little grassroots organization that sprang into being last year with the sole purpose of providing brown bag lunches to the homeless. It's a small, but growing, group of caring people who want to show love in the most practical and essential of ways. They're feeding a lot of people and inspiring plenty more. They're not preaching. They're just taking care of people. I think if St. Xenia lived in modern-day Florida, she'd be slapping together sandwiches and handing out sack lunches right along with them.
So I am going to make a small donation (I haven't evolved quite to the place where I'm willing to liquidate all my possessions) to Brown Bag Lunches of Pinellas* in honor of St. Xenia and my sweet, sneaky, generous friends. As soon as I have a chance I will make them all some cookies with that shiny mixer. And because of my deep commitment to helping others, I will eat St. Xenia's share.
*If you'd like to donate to this very worthy group, you can easily send them a donation via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org . Even a few dollars will really make a difference for someone.