Even with all the professional ministry and working with youth all my life, especially Scouts, I had an interesting epiphany just recently. Since retiring I have upped my volunteerism and have taken on working with the American Red Cross. My first national deployment I was lead on a crew doing Bulk Distribution, which means I drove a truck out into the neighborhoods and handed out food, water, supplies, clean up kits, and things of this sort. When we handed out stuff we could tell there were many items going out that were going to be showing up on craigslist and Ebay by that evening. But we were told to never question it, just hand it out, no questions asked.
I was in one neighborhood and I handed out a full compliment of supplies to a young boy about 15 years old. Within a few minutes he was back asking for another load. I had to give it to him by ARC policy. Sure enough he came back a third time, but this time I watched him. He took it over to a house nearby and knocked on the door. An elderly woman answered and he pointed to the stuff he had just put on her porch. He was back again, this time going to another house, and back for more. By the time I had emptied my truck I was on cloud nine. If I had but one boy like this in my troop I'd be in heaven. When I got back in my cab to drive back to the warehouse, a terrifying thought ran through my head. "What if I had said no?" I might be an old-fashioned stogie in my thinking and opinions cemented into place, but like W.C.Boyce's experience in London, I may never know his name, but it changed my way of thinking forever. No is such a devastatingly destructive word.