Santa Monica Smiles

Yesterday we decided to climb out from under the wrapping paper remnants & crushed gift boxes and take a stroll around Santa Monica to deliver the blessing bags we assembled last week. I wish we had hundreds more of them, but we agreed to find five recipients and hand them out along with a smile.

blessing1

Next we saw a gentleman sitting on a park bench with a big suitcase and a Subway sandwich he was about to unwrap. The kids were running a little ahead of us and were skipping and screaming near where he was sitting. He looked up and shouted “Get your family away from me!” a couple times. Of course, we have our children’s safety in mind at all times, so we quietly walked by him and sought other folks in need of a little blessing. I look back and should have maybe went over to him alone and just placed a bag on the bench where he was sitting, smiled and walked away, but at the time I was a little put off by his outburst.

We moved on and I noticed a man with a big McDonald’s bag who was handing out hamburgers by the dozens. Some people were sleeping and he kindly left them a sandwich on their belongings. I saw him hand one to a sweet woman who responded with the most grateful smile and immediately followed it up with a blessing bag. She was so darling and thanked me so genuinely.

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She didn’t even study what was in the bag, but immediately said, “Oh, I can use everything in here!” She embarrassingly asked me for a quarter…she said, “I know I’m not supposed to ask you for money, but do you have a quarter for the bus?” I fished around in my wallet and handed her two.

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She was so sweet and interested in the kids {who, at first, stood over by Jay, but then made their way over to us} and asked how old they were. She said that was so nice that they came out to do this because surely they would rather be doing something else. I wanted to stay and chat with her….listen to whatever she had to say and take in as much information about her that she was willing to share.

Was she a mother? A sister? A wife? A Widow? A grandmother?

What brought her to Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica overlooking the pier, the ferris wheel and the big blue Pacific?

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I wished her a blessed day and we proceeded to leave three more bags on the meager belongings of two neighboring bench mates and a man on the grass who were taking naps under the late December Southern California sun.

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*****

This is truly an eye opening experience and I’m so glad the kids were along and we could do this as a family. I am forever changed after speaking to this woman for only a few short minutes. I hope that when the others awoke from their slumbers that they felt loved and acknowledged when they laid eyes on their hamburgers and gallon ziplocs filled with small tokens from our family.

We look forward to making this an annual thing. Next year we’ll make up many more and focus on the streets of Hollywood.

Here is a link to last year’s post of what exactly was in the bags. {this year we added a bottled water, walnuts, trail mix and a pair of men’s socks}

Thank you to Leslie at Top of the Page and Julie at Joy’s Hope for sharing this act and opening my eyes to a way to serve and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Here is the blessing bag post ~ as shared by Leslie.

I share this experience because I want to record it and remember it in years to come. I want to recall my exact emotions and the joy that it brought to these complete strangers just minding their own business on {their} park bench. I share this experience because it is so awesome and I want to encourage YOU to think about linking up with some friends and assembling some bags, now or next year, and give all the glory to HIM.

Yesterday was perfect.

3 thoughts on “Santa Monica Smiles”

  1. What an amazing, heart-warming post this is. You brought tears to my eyes as I read this and can only imagine how blessed you felt after handing out those bags. I love that you included the kids in it. You are a very special person and have inspired me to do a random act of kindness for a stranger or 2 this weekend.

    Amy

  2. Awww, thank you, Amy! It is an amazing feeling to give these sweet people just the teeniest bit of necessities and see the joy on their faces. I’m sure not all are as warm and welcoming as this sweet woman, but I wouldn’t change the couple of experiences I’ve had handing these out for the world. Please let me know how your RAOK goes! 😉 All the best to you and Tom in 2013! XO

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