Ginnie Wade was the only civilian killed during the battle of Gettysburg. A stray bullet entered the house and killed her. She had probably stayed to help care for her sister who had a baby a few days before. She was killed while making bread. She was then taken to the cellar with the rest of the family so that they would be safe during the fighting. Her mother was present. Her unmarried daughter was dead. Her own life was in danger. Yet, there was work to be done.
A soldier asked if Jennie’s mother would finish making the bread that Jennie had been preparing. Her mother agreed. In the midst of fear and grief, there was more that needed to be done. We often want to tend to our own emotions and family before dealing with the needs and wants of others. We want to focus on us before we begin to think about others. Maybe we need to do this some times, but it may be that allowing ourselves to think of others will change how we think about our own situations.
Jennie’s mother was asked to finish the bread because the soldiers were hungry. They were probably close to starving. They needed her. They need her in order to survive. Jennie’s mother agreed to make the bread for the soldiers. She recognized their need and willingly helped them. Sometimes we get so involved in our own lives that we fail to recognize the needs of others. We fail to see those who are hungry or homeless in our midst. We fail to notice the family that is struggling to provide for the care of a loved one.
We are called to open our eyes, hearts, and minds to the needs of others. To do this, we need to ask God to help us see what is around us. Is there a reason we never see our neighbor? Why does this particular child always try to avoid reading? Does the woman at the mall seem lonely? Jennie’s mother saw the need before her. We are called to do the same.