- Brian Ferschweiler
Easter Appeal from Executive Director
A Chance Encounter
Last year, we made the decision to replace our old phone system. The new one shows its imperfections from time to time because the people making them are not perfect. That's not a slight, just a fact. God is the only perfect being, and last time I checked, He's not in the business of producing phone systems.
Recently, I was sitting at my desk when my direct line rang. Without hesitation I answered with my normal greeting: "St. Vincent de Paul, this is Brian, how can I help you?" The caller, an older-sounding gentleman, politely asked to speak to someone about rental assistance. In trying to reach Emergency Services (ES), the phone system (with its imperfections) redirected him instead to my office.
Normally, I would have simply explained the mistake and transferred him down to ES. However, he quickly introduced himself as "John," and said he and his wife were retired and on a fixed income. Life, up to this point, had been fairly good to them. But without warning, their once-reliable mode of transportation needed numerous costly repairs. Funds had to be redirected to pay the bills. He was angry with himself and with the system. The anger eventually gave way to despair and sadness, which then turned to desperation. They needed help.
After about 10 minutes, he suddenly fell silent for a few seconds. He then began to apologize for talking so much. His anger and resentment gave way to regret for not saving enough–and his regret gave way to embarrassment, knowing they needed help from perfect strangers in order to pay their monthly rent.
Sensing how difficult it was for John to call SVdP, I felt it would be wrong of me to ask him to retell his story all over again to one of my staff. As ED, I made an executive decision and promised him we would help him with his request. For a few seconds, I wasn't sure he understood what I had said. But then came an audible sigh of relief, followed by a good many "thank yous." I then took down his information, and said someone would call him soon.
Based on my conversation with John, here is my Easter message to each and every one of you: Please remember we're all children of God; please remember we're all imperfect human beings prone to finding ourselves in need of help now and then; and please remember what Jesus said of helping those in need: "Amen, I say to you: As long as you did it to one of these the least of my brethren, you did it to me" (Matthew 25:40).
Thank you in advance for whatever you can give to help us continue to help those who come to us in need.
Blessings. –Brian Ferschweiler