Grateful for my hosepipe
We read in Chapter 9 how Paul was teaching the people of Corinth about giving. He gave good advice like: 5I want you to have all the time you need to make this offering in your own way. I don’t want anything forced or hurried at the last minute. Or like: 7I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. And like this: 11 He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.
But instead of saying more about this topic, I share the following story received via e-mail with the author’s permission. Maybe it makes more sense:
On Monday evening I got home from class – dog tired and sticky from the heat and I looked at my windblown garden – dry and gray. Just like me!
I grabbed the hosepipe and opened the gate. The plants on the pavement needed water urgently. These plants are the most neglected of all. Like my washing and my Bible study and the hair on my legs! Behind the garden wall you can still water the garden in your washed out pajamas, but on the outside you need lipstick and clothes.
As I was enjoying watering the pavement plants and chatting to old Henry across the road I suddenly heard: “Evening, Merrim!”
It’s Theresa. Theresa is a homeless woman who sleeps under the bridge at night. Her ‘house’ is regularly broken down and removed, but she returns to the bridge again and again.
I asked how she was doing and she said she’s tired, she had just finished putting up her home. Now she had to go and get something to eat.
With her is an adolescent boy – about 14 years old.
“Merrim, this here is my son – I just have this one. His name is Liandene.”
I have often been left speechless by the names the homeless devise for their children. They probably have lots of time to think in their hopeless, sad existence and I think every time they hope that this child with the grand name will be their mini-messiah who will take them from their miserable life to the promised land.
“Evening, Liandene,” I said warmly. He was shy and greeted me softly.
“Do you go to school, Liandene?” I asked.
“Yes, Ma’am, I go to Cravenby.”
I looked at the child and wondered whether his teacher knew he was sleeping under a bridge, that he hadn’t had dinner at eight o clock at night, that he and his mother were walking around with a Pick n Pay bag picking up paper and other litter while looking for food. Did the teacher know that this child did not have a bed or a table or a chair? Did he know that this child and his mother were eating from dustbins? Did the teacher know that this would most certainly be the mother’s last winter?
I’ve known Theresa for a long time. It was actually Stella’s fault that I was saddled with Theresa, because she had promised Theresa that we would always have food for her. Now I had to look after Theresa!
Déjà vu! Just like Lyla! Story of my life!
Every winter I fear Theresa won’t make it. Her lungs were bad and she was as thin as a rake.
We chatted for a bit and to save her the embarrassment I asked her to hold the hosepipe and water the garden while I get something to eat.
I found food for them and took R20 from my purse. I wanted to say to Liandene: “Go to the tuck shop at your school tomorrow and buy a chicken pie and a coke for yourself!”
When I got outside, Theresa was watering the bone dry roses so that small puddles formed around them– just the way I like it!
I handed over the food and money, but Theresa hung onto the hosepipe and continued watering!
“You must go now, Theresa, it’s nearly dark!”
“Ag, Merrim,” she said while joyfully continuing with the watering, “let me have a little time with the hosepipe. I always wanted a small house with a hosepipe and a tap, but my time is running out! Let me just keep on watering for a while, it’s so nice. Liandene, ma’s big boy! Ag, my child! Ma hopes that you will have a house with a hosepipe one day!’
Suddenly I was so grateful for my hosepipe…
Do you have enough?
Are you satisfied?
Do you want to give to others even though you may not have enough?
Lord, You give us so much, but we still keep hanging on to our stuff. Lord, please work in our hearts. Please let our eyes see the distress of others and let our hands start giving and giving and giving. Amen