Once in a while my husband manages to surprise me.
I mean, really, really surprise me. He isn’t one for big public displays, doesn’t think sports stadium proposals are romantic (or wise). Still, once in a while…
My birthday just happened to land on the 7th anniversary of the founding of Blessings Under the Bridge, which is the homeless ministry we serve with. Since it was the anniversary, there were big plans for cake and balloons, and Jessica asked my help with a major food donation pickup at Children & Family Services that morning. My birthday became half a day off from school for the boys, as I was downtown helping with the pickup.
I planned a Wednesday night dine and dash dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, with a jar of undoctored spaghetti sauce poured over it. Nothing special! Just after 3:00 our daughter P showed up with our grandbaby to wish me happy birthday. She and her boyfriend and the baby stayed for our quickie dinner. I was SO happy they came by. It’s been weeks since we’ve seen them and I got to snuggle my Jorji Girl. P is pregnant with her second (a boy!) and my little Jorjia is just growing so fast. It was a happy surprise! We had to be out the door by 5 though, so it was a short visit.
My husband texted me that he was already at the Hub (Blessings’ warehouse) and would meet us down at the Feed. We dined, and we dashed.
When we got down to the Feed, I was assigned to assist the grill cook, which was odd because I’ve never done that before but I’ll help where ever they need it. As they let everyone in the gates and Jessica prepared everyone to pray over the food, I heard her call my name over the mic, “Dawn Perkins! It’s Dawn’s birthday tonight! Dawn Perkins, get over here!” I went, hanging on to my silicone gloves because I figured I’d be back to the grill in 2 minutes. (You can see them in the pictures below!)
Jessica introduced me since not everyone knows me (we’re talking about almost 300 homeless here!) and they—ALL—sang me Happy Birthday! And then she announced “Now everyone give Dawn what you’ve got for her!” and I was completely surrounded by people. Every where I turned, people were giving me long stemmed roses. I heard a lot of “Happy Birthday!”, and “Your husband is awesome!” from the ladies.
And yeah, he pretty much is. So are my friends and everyone we serve under that Bridge.
Jessica has a little saying that she tells audiences when she speaks about what we do down at Blessings, when people ask, “So how do you fix those people anyway?” Her reply, “We don’t fix them. They fix us! It’s not about them, it’s about US!” The tears in my eyes and the lump in my throat were testimony of that last night.
Imagine being surrounded by almost 300 homeless and less fortunate people, the “lowest” of our society. Addicts. Bag ladies. Prostitutes. Toothless, elderly men who have been homeless so long they don’t remember what it’s like to have a bed. And imagine if you will, every one of them smiling at you, wishing you a happy birthday, and genuinely, honestly happy to celebrate with you.
My heart hurt, I felt so undeserving of their attention and kind wishes, when I have so much more than they do. And it didn’t matter to them at all. Souls see souls, and “The hands that bless ARE the most blessed!”