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  • Writer's pictureChatham Habitat for Humanity

What Matters

By Melchee Johnson, Database Coordinator

I have more than enough. I’ve never experienced shortage of food or shelter. I’m employed. I have family, love, and friends. I’m entirely blessed.

I shouldn’t complain about anything, yet some expression of disdain over what I deem as lacking manages to roll off my tongue at least once a day. Or if I don’t speak it, I think it. Why?

Much as I hate to admit it, I’m not as grateful for my countless blessings as I should be. Sure, I pray and give thanks to God each morning and night. I offer thanks before every meal. I send thank-you cards for gifts and other acts of kindness bestowed on me. Seems like I’m getting it right.

But am I just acting grateful, or am I truly being grateful? Am I TRULY thankful?


A few years ago, my husband and I enjoyed dinner out one night, as we frequently do, not realizing how this particular night would end. We were driving through downtown headed home when we saw something that surprised us both. At the corner, in front of a law firm’s office, we witnessed a man digging through a trash can. My husband stopped the car, opened his window, and yelled to ask the man if he’d been searching for food. The man, whose face was hidden to me in the early dark, turned and shook his head yes. I immediately became angry and totally disgusted. So did my husband, to the point that he nearly commanded the man to walk around the corner to a nearby restaurant so we could buy him food.

What an eye-opening experience. I’d never seen anyone rummaging through garbage for food. I tell you, seeing that man made me be thankful. To this day, I think of that man each time I pass that same corner.

The lesson from that night, I soon learned, is what can happen after the being grateful. That’s when you do the grateful. One can’t see something like that and not act. You can’t have, and then not give.

I’m not going to share what my doing looked like after that night. It’s not something over which I need to boast. The point? Do. That’s what matters. Give of yourself because you are grateful. That’s how it all connects.

In this season of giving, I challenge all of us to do just that: give. I’m fortunate to be part of the Chatham Habitat for Humanity team where we’re committed to providing affordable housing to those in need. We’re part of a dedicated and caring community and believe in doing our part to make a difference. Join us as a donor, volunteer, and as an advocate of our mission to help our neighbors and friends.


 This post, with the exception of the addition of the last paragraph, was previously published on the “Such Small Hands” blog.

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