Sunday, September 30, 2007

Feeding the Soul

I spent the day preparing and serving a meal to homeless and hungry folks. Our church takes part in a weekly feeding program, and today it was my Sunday School class's turn to provide and serve the meal. It's been about three years since I last did that. I had forgotten how meaningful that experience is. I always walk away extremely grateful for my family, my home, my job and all of the other blessings I sometimes take for granted. I have to admit I wasn't exactly looking forward to spending the day working my tail off in the kitchen, especially since it had been such an incredibly tiring week and since the weather was beautiful. I'm glad I did though, because I left feeling energized and lucky.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to be hungry. Or to have hungry children. How humbling it must be to ask for a free meal. Or to be so hungry that you show up 45 minutes early to get a sloppy joe and baked beans. Or to linger an extra hour so you can get in line for a meal to take home with you. I'm surprised I didn't burst into tears in the middle of the kitchen. I cry at the drop of a hat. Hubby calls me "sentimental". Looking into the eyes of a child who thanked me for a slice of chocolate cake made me want to cry. Getting a pat on the arm from an elderly lady who was grateful for a free meal made me want to cry. Seeing a room full of people who don't have enough money for groceries made me want to cry. It's a wonder I made it out of there with any mascara. I felt like a heel because I had to stick to the policy of two take-out boxes per person when some folks wanted more. Sure, one or two of them were trying to take advantage of the situation, but most weren't, and I felt bad limiting their take home sandwiches. I filled those buns as full as I could, though. I have to sleep at night, you know.

It really was a great way to end a taxing week. It gave me some perspective and forced me to stop and take in the world around me. To think about others instead of myself and realize how lucky I am. It was kind of like running into Frank at the race yesterday, everywhere I turned was a reminder that I should just shut up and be happy sometimes. I could hardly drag myself out of bed this morning. This evening I left the church full of energy and ready for the week ahead. Funny how the good Lord uses strangers to tap you on the shoulder and wake you up sometimes.

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