October 17, 2020 Morton, IL
Stories matter! Every one of us has a story to tell. I remember my grandpa’s funeral from years ago. For hours, the family of which there were close to 100 of us down to great grandkids simply told each other stories, all involving Grandpa in one way or another. Every story seemed to start with, “Remember when,” and then we’d fill in the blanks. There were many stories I hadn’t heard before and many were shared stories of life through the years, some good, some not so much but all involved family and friends. What a great time we had just telling each other ‘stories’.
Well, that, in a small way, is what Impact Cares is all about. On Saturday, October 17, we had the privilege of going to the Oak Lawn community in Morton, IL and not only help bring smiles and improvements to many folks but we also had the opportunity to share, make and tell stories together. Let me share a few of those great stories.
First, let’s meet Mike, one of Impact’s maintenance staff. Here is a staff member ‘who gets it!’ He takes great care of the community. Two of his brothers are serving our county in the military and Mike serves our county by serving this community. Not only does he look after things but he will also visit those who may be sick or homebound and brighten their day by playing his guitar and even singing them a song! He’s just an all-around great guy to have in your community. Be sure to say ‘Hi’ to Mike if you see him and thank him for all he does!
There was a sad, tragic story of a couple who had lost a young son a number of years ago. As you can easily imagine, that is not something you just ‘get over’ and move on. The loss of a child is devastating and so it is for this couple. Yet, this weekend, Impact Cares came, helped repair some plumbing issues, repaired a leaky roof and these small acts of kindness may have helped to crack open the door that kept the light and life out and allowed one couple to take a small step by engaging neighbors in conversation. Stories can involve great loss but they can also be changed by small, seemingly insignificant acts of kindness.
Another story involves a lady who is known as the ‘Chalk lady.’ She uses sidewalk chalk as her way of blessing, encouraging and saying thank you to folks. Imagine being able to tell the story of your friend, your neighbor, your mom, your grandma who just loves to bless others by her small acts of kindness, right down to writing a big ‘Thank You’ on the road in front of the mailboxes for the mailman! That will surely bring a smile to anyone’s face!
During the time Impact Cares was in town they had the opportunity to give three plaques to local police as a way of saying ‘thank you’ for all they do. Go Blue! ! Again, a small thing with a big impact!
Another story is of one resident who is wheelchair bound. We know there’s a story all by itself right there. Impact Cares was able to add to his story in a small way. Being in a wheelchair has its own set of challenges, I know for my dad was in one for 30 years. When going outside, his chair would often catch and ruin the latch on his screen door time and again because his deck and ramp were not big enough. Tom, one of Impact Cares team members with his crew that day had the privilege of building him a bigger deck with an adequate ramp attached which met all his needs of getting in and out of his home. He was so excited – and don’t worry, that story will be told for a long time as well.
There’s still space for one more story. There are times when God gives us special gifts, and sometimes those gifts come in the form of special needs. One resident’s son, who struggles with autism, so desired to help any way he could. So on the day of the main project, he was put to work with one of the Impact Cares team members and they spent all day just delivering supplies to the various groups working on home improvements. By the end of the day he was exhausted but he’d also had the time of his life! Again, no doubt there is a great story here to be told if you happen to live there and became his friend. It’s the stories that matter, and often time it’s the small acts of kindness that can bring those stories to light.
Oak Lawn is a great community, a great variety of folks and even more stories. Impact Cares was able to have a part in making new ones, hearing the retelling of old ones and bringing smiles to all who heard them.
Once again, GO Impact Cares!