Their Hour of Need
Sometimes the simplest gifts are the most meaningful.
On the day I saw my husband, Wes, slumped over a ladder, my heart dropped. He had been clearing snow off the roof of the motel we managed, and seeing him like that, I feared the worst. In fact, nothing was wrong—he’d been reaching for his phone—but the panic I felt caused me to rethink our jobs.
Around the same time, the motel’s owners decided to return to live and work there full time. They were good people; I knew they wouldn’t kick us out in winter. But I also knew it didn’t make sense for all of us to stick around. I turned in our notice on Christmas Day. I was 58 years old, Wes was 62, and we were about to become homeless.
Instead, friends offered us their camper to live in while we looked for a home to rent. When I woke up the first morning, the temperature inside the camper was 30 degrees. Fearing a fire, Wes had not kept the heater running through the night.
But I was grateful for a place to rest, clear my thoughts and regroup. Before the month ended we had several leads for jobs, but nothing came through. When our friends decided to go south for the rest of the winter, they graciously asked us to housesit until April.
We took care of their chickens and the house and kept looking for work. We stayed busy doing odd jobs, and the day before they returned home, I found a temporary position at a school—and, at last, a place to rent.
Fortunately the rental did not require a deposit or a yearlong lease, because we didn’t have a spare cent or even any guarantee my job would continue past June. Our landlords generously reimbursed us for some of the electric because the structure was drafty. Each Monday the food pantry provided nutrition and the fellowship of friends. Month by month we were able to pay our bills.
There are many ways a community can help when one of their own falls upon difficult times. Someone sent me $200; another person told the grocery store to give me $50 worth of anything I needed. A kind older couple found work boots for me, and a woman cleaned out her closets and passed down her finest giveaways.
Wes was reluctant at first to take anything, but he became one of the most valued volunteers at the food pantry. He also used his handyman skills to help others in need.
I wrote stories for everyone who had helped, because sometimes a story can comfort and encourage us most. Life is never predictable, but this experience built up my faith.