You’ve got to laugh, or you’ll cry – A Story of Perseverance

IMG_20151113_093631593_HDRRecently, Patricia Tolbert experienced something that completely changed the way she looks at life. She had just moved into her new home and was working on getting everything put in her name. The power had not been turned on yet, so she was using candlelight to see by.

On that Friday, she stepped out of the house to walk down the road to the grocery store. Her son was at work, so no one was at home at the time. She thought she had blown out her candles before leaving, but she was mistaken. Her home caught on fire while she was gone. She ended up losing everything she owned. Unfortunately, she didn’t have insurance, so now she is left with nothing.

However, Mrs. Tolbert doesn’t see it that way. This experience has only made her even more grateful for the things she didn’t lose: her life and her faith. She knows that God was protecting her and got her out of harm’s way that day. “I don’t know how, but I know Who,” she says with tears in her eyes, “Lord, I know you won’t put on me anything I can’t bear.”

She adds that, before the fire, she had lost her beloved pet dog. Now, she considers this a blessing in disguise because she could have lost her dog in the house fire. That would have been more devastating than losing any material possession. Luckily, no one was hurt in the fire. Thinking about this, she looks positively joyful. “You’ve got to laugh about it,” she says, “or you’ll cry about it.”

Even though she lost all her material possessions and her home, Mrs. Tolbert still feels blessed. She has a new outlook on life that allows her to feel grateful for every single moment. Looking down at the cup of coffee in her hand, she says, “This is more than coffee.” It is a small blessing on a difficult day. Her entire outlook on people who are without a home has changed as well. She knows now that anyone at any moment could end up homeless. It reminds her to have compassion and be grateful.

“I’m not operating on my own strength,” she insists, “and I don’t have time to be having a pity party.” Even though she is now constantly moving around, sometimes doesn’t know where she will be sleeping, and has no clothing, she is happy. “I have something more valuable than everything I lost. That can be replaced.”

Mrs. Tolbert has come to GBM seeking clothing to replace what she lost and food assistance. She is able to receive both thanks to our grocery assistance program and our GBM Community Day, where she will be able to get as much clothes as she wants. This would not be possible without the generous donations of our supporters.