Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ring The Bells....Let The Whole World Know!!

I have wanted to ring the bell for the Salvation Army for more than thirty years. You may wonder why it took me so long to do it. I would think about it every Christmas and wonder who one contacted to be a bell ringer. I had never met anyone that had rung a bell to ask them so I just procrastinated over the years. I thought about calling the main number to ask if anyone outside their congregation could do it. As with all things, the time passed so swiftly with me continuing to take action. That is until this year! A gentleman stood up one Sunday during worship, rang the bell, and said something to the effect that if we really want to feel the Christmas Spirit sign up and ring the bell for one hour at Lowe’s Food Store in King. Ah, finally my answer after so many years of wondering how this process worked. I approached Don after the service and asked if he had the 3:00 slot open. It was his last one open; further assurance to me that this was meant to be.

I showed up that Saturday afternoon with a folding chair in hand. I knew how tired my legs could get standing on cement for an hour. I talked with the people I was replacing. They had enjoyed the experience. People had been very nice to them. It was fairly cold in the shade of the overhang at Lowe’s but soon my thoughts were a long way from where I was standing. My eyes were overflowing and tears were running down my face as I saw, in my mind’s eye, children shivering when they got out of bed in the morning. I “saw” fathers and mothers that were hungry, tired and worried about letting their children down at the holidays because they was no money. I “heard” them thank me for not letting them remain invisible. They “told” me that when we ring the bell, we are their voices and they are no longer forgotten. I don’t have adequate words to describe this moving and powerful spiritual experience. I can tell you that it was overwhelming and meaningful.

Observing humanity for one hour was an interesting experience. What I observed was that the better dressed people did not make eye contact with me nearly as often as those who appeared to have very little. The folks who seemed to have the least hurried to the bucket to make their donations, as parents they used it as a learning experience to teach their children about sharing, and often they would thank me for giving my time to ring the bell.

The experience was worth the wait, I felt my heart expand enough to allow more of God’s love to fill me

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