A little while ago, Sunday Assembly got mail from an assembler that reminded us once again why we're lucky to be a part of this community with you. When we asked her if we could share it, she responded that she very much hopes that it might reach the family who reached out to her to help.
I want to tell you what Sunday Assembly has done for me. In 2013 I was jobless and homeless for a little over 6 months. It isn’t that I didn’t have money for rent, it’s that I had a dog and the places I could afford wouldn’t allow me to keep her and the places that did allow a dog were way out of my price range. Was I destined to lose my best friend in order to have a roof over my head? I rued not being a member of a church. There I would have had the ear of the pastor and the help and compassion of the entire congregation. My plight would have been listed in the church flyer and read by hundreds. But I am an atheist. I had no place to advertise and no church to help. I had no one’s ear. And I couldn’t--wouldn’t--give up my dog.
Well, I have a place now--for me and my dog--and I am very happy with it. It’s small and primitive but the two of us are together. My dog loves it but, in the high desert, when the sun goes down, the heat of the day turns
to brutal cold. My place has no heat. Unlike my dog, I don’t have a fur coat. I had to manage with thermals and gloves.
At the December Sunday Assembly, I mentioned to the fellow sitting next to me about how difficult it is to live without heat. If you remember in December 2013 there was an especially cold front that covered Southern California. Orange groves and avocado ranchers were putting out the smudge pots and frost was found on the windows of cars on the street. For our usually warm and sunny climate it was darned cold. Unlike the skiers who were happy on the slopes I was just grateful I had thermals to wear.
I made the long, long drive to the next Sunday Assembly. The fellow I had sat next to the month before found me at the meeting. I hadn’t ask for help nor did I expect any. But he and his family presented me with a propane heater—a gesture of kindness; a simple gift to a near-stranger. And it is a perfect way of heating my little place in the sand. I light it, heat the room, get dressed and turn it off (not used correctly, propane can be dangerous). But in those few minutes of heating my surroundings I not only warm the room, I get a warm feeling inside.
I’ve never been on the receiving end of help before but the kindness of a stranger means more than just accepting a gift. That someone else cares makes a person feel they have value. My life mattered to someone. Compassionate people are everywhere. And Sunday Assembly brings them together. Thank you.