It was not what I expected. The transition to the New Year is usually all about me and how I’m going to achieve fitness goals, fulfill my mission as a speaker and make more money. Instead, I was presented with an opportunity to help an Army veteran and his family after suddenly losing their home and only vehicle.
Jayne and I took them out to pizza on Dec. 28 and learned their story. Chris is not getting the benefits he deserves from serving our country. He and his amazingly strong wife Liz have been living day to day trying to make ends meet and take care of their 2 kids, Chance and Lily.
Here’s what made such an impression on me. Even when down to their last few dollars and nowhere to stay that night, Liz said, “We’ll figure it out. We always do.” It was a resourcefulness borne from being failed by the system and having no nearby family to turn to. They were sticking together and protecting their kids no matter what cards they were dealt.
I couldn’t walk away. I wanted to help them figure out their next step.
Most rescues require a series of Good Samaritans, like links in a chain of support:
- We did our part as the first link by helping them with hotel and food costs for the last two weeks.
- The GoFundme campaign and local church offerings raised enough to buy them a used truck. Many of you became links in the chain when you donated and we are extremely grateful for your generosity.
- The next link is Jonathan Cullifer and his charity VetsPass, who is now helping them get permanent housing, disability benefits and more. The blessings are flowing and they are on their way to getting back on their feet.
Through this process, we went out to eat a few times and got to know their two resilient kids. When it came time to open fortune cookies last night, everyone read theirs out loud. The tiny slips of paper had the usual generic and vague advice and we chuckled over them.
Then eleven-year-old Chance spoke up. “Hey, mine is perfect.”
I asked, “OK, what’s it say?”
“A true friend walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” He paused and looked up with a big smile on his face. “This is about you and Jayne.”
Needless to say, I got a little choked up. All the money and time we gave them was suddenly the best investment I had ever made.
I like to think I am resilient and resourceful, but I have never been put to the test like this family, and I hope I never will. I went home last night feeling grateful for everything I have… for my two kids, for Jayne, for my extended family and friends and for moments like this when God reminds me why I’m here.
I’m glad I walked in this time. May you have a happy New Year my friends.