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A Missed Chance of Love and Kindness

February 14, 2014

Hi, I'm cilla!
I am a loved, incredibly imperfect, storyteller of life, love, and joy. Photographer to some of the most genuine and beauty-filled people in KY.
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Happy Valentine’s Day! Apparently Valentine’s Day for football coaches is code for “let’s get away from our wives and go hang out with a bunch of other football coaches and learn about footbally things”. Not that I’m bitter or anything, but, planner of football clinic, bad move…bad move.
Okay, that’s beside the point. I didn’t come on to actually blog and talk about my Valentine’s Day bitterness because I have an even cuter Baierlein to celebrate with. He just happens to be 2. Husband…I love you and think you’re pretty cute, but I will be snuggling without you.

Something happened today that has happened too many times to count. It was a moment that I would’ve briefly felt guilty about, but then would’ve covered that up with excuses. Probably legitimate excuses, but still excuses. Today, though, I just can’t shake this feeling that I missed a true moment to learn and grow. It’s like when you have an argument with someone and later think “oh I should’ve said this…why didn’t I say that!?” Sometimes I just can’t shake the should’ves… could’ves… would’ves.

When it comes to sharing charity work, I struggle. I have two things ringing in my head “Let your light so shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven” and “Tell no one” (what Jesus often said after performing many miracles). I recently have figured out what this means to me. It brings me back to a church service I attended a few years ago that left a bitter taste in my mouth. It just didn’t feel right to me. At this church, the preacher kept saying “insert church name has done this for all these people, and done that, and brought this into this persons heart” and I rarely heard God mentioned. The church is God’s home and all of it was done for God, but it felt like they were taking all the praise. Fast forward a year or few. I had the opportunity to do an awesome awesome gift with a few friends. It would be for someone less fortunate and it would be sharing our gifts to make someone feel special. Once we got further into it, I created a flyer…added names and logos…and then wrote a blog post that gave so much credit to my friends who came up with this beautiful idea. They didn’t feel right about it. It left a bitter taste in their mouth. I said I understood, but I’m not sure I did at first. Now, I do. It felt like they were taking credit for something and getting praise for something when all they wanted to do was give. And to say “tell no one”. I realized, just now actually, that I was like the sermon. I was taking credit and giving credit where I felt like it was due, but I was wrong. God gives me opportunities, sometimes quietly, sometimes less obvious than others, to give love and kindness. It’s up to me to take those opportunities.

So…what do I believe? I believe, first and foremost, that doing the good deeds is most important. I don’t care who you’re giving credit to if you’re doing them. Do what you feel is right in your heart. But, for me, I think my take away is this. I will do good. I will let my light shine. I will give credit to God. Today I learned that I need to be taught to listen for the signs of opportunities before they are missed.

Today I fought Lexington traffic, at lunch time, to meet up with my dear intern Emily. As I drove up to the strip of restaurants on campus, I parked in the first spot I saw, thinking I was close to the Local Taco, our restaurant of choice for today. I was sad and slightly frustrated to realize, after putting change in the meter, that I was much further away than anticipated and there were tons of spots open right in front of Local Taco. Yes…I’m lazy. And it’s cold. Polar Vortex people. Any who…back to lunch. We have a lovely lunch (fried chicken tacos anyone?) and I tell her how awesome she is…we hug…and part ways for the day. As I’m walking 10 miles to my van, I see a man asking a couple guys for change. I cringe, as it’s hard to make old habits die, and, at first, look at the ground. Then I bring my head up and we lock eyes. He has long hair, a cross tattoo on his hand, and shaggy facial hair. He asks for change and I explain, sincerely, that I don’t have any because I had to dig in the cracks of my van to drag out a quarter for the meter (this is true…I rarely have cash or change..I imagine debit cards make it hard to ask for change). I didn’t say this while walking away like usual. I stop and explain and listen. He explains a little of his story and that he’s just looking to get something to eat. I apologize and walk on. 10 feet down, I turn into a Chipotle to buy a gift card. I stand in line for a second and wonder if I should tell him to wait. Then I have, what I thought was a brassy and genius move at lunch time in Lexington, and I cut line. I only have to buy a gift card people. I purchase said gift card (with a debit card) and said a quiet prayer that he hasn’t left. I step outside and my heart sinks. My moment passed. He was gone. Y’all I could’ve cried. I walked up the street, looked down the other street and just didn’t see him any where. I pray that someone else fed him. I know, many of you are thinking that there’s a good chance he could be pulling off a scam or really wanting money for drugs. That’s what we all usually think isn’t it? I know I certainly don’t want to contribute to anyone’s drug problem. But I had to follow my heart. I just wish I had done it quicker or been smart about it. At first my wish was that I had told him to wait a minute while I went inside. But shortly after that, my wish was that I had taken a few minutes out of my day to walk with him inside that crowded restaurant and bought his meal (if he would’ve liked that), sat with him and talked. We are all broken. We are all walking around in a chaotic world, filled with an excess of things and a shortage of love. I know we have to be careful, but maybe there’s a way to do both.

“‘For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then these righteous ones will reply ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” Matthew 25:35-40

I posted a picture of this verse 4 days ago on instagram. I said it was powerful and later prayed for opportunities to nourish Jesus. I was presented with a moment. I felt it. I missed it.

Here’s a picture of my Valentine from my little man…


  1. Sherry Hammond-Thacker says:

    That was beautifully, broken honesty. We were talking about this same thing in a church Sunday school class I visited. Initially, we are all timid when giving to people begging on the street. But it’s not for us to pass judgement and we just gotta trust God that once the gift leaves are hands it’s used to benefit Him. I will be keeping this man in my prayers! You’re always beautiful, inside and out! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Katie Webb Kneisley says:

    I’m glad you shared this–I’ll keep it filed in my noggin to embolden me when I’m in a similar situation. You did a good thing, Cilla.

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