Oh, how we all wish we had more money! Most of us are watching our money more closely, using coupons, and buying at good sales. There are some who spend in a thrifty manner and some who buy at high retail. Think for a moment, how blessed we are to hat least have money to buy the things we need. For the purpose of this blog, let us forget about the things we want, and concentrate on what we need.
My daughter and I spent time this weekend in a large homeless shelter that serves breakfast to about 250 homeless men. We were the new volunteers, and initially felt a bit awkward in this new environment. I think we also arrived with a “preconceived” notion of what to expect. Visions of dirty people from the street lying around, passed out from drugs and alcohol, filled my head. I silently wondered why so many of them were there and why they couldn’t get their lives together. Still, I wanted to give back and help instill in my daughter a sense of community and an understanding that not everyone is as fortunate.
About 20 volunteers buzzed around, each having a special job “behind the counter” setting up the food, juice, cups, trays, etc. I immediately sensed a hesitation for people to cross that line and be out front where the homeless people were getting lined up for breakfast. This hesitation, whether on a conscious or subconscious level, added to my trepidation about going out there and serving coffee among them — with my very attractive daughter in a room full of homeless men. This was concerning to me, but they needed two volunteers, and since no one came forth, it seemed life was pointing the way for us to do it. So, off we went to our new adventure. My teenage daughter and I went out there and served coffee and water to these men.
I expected these men not to maintain eye contact and was forewarned of this possibility. I expected them to take the food and coffee and run. I expected them to look down on us because we were “rich” to them. I expected bad attitudes and resentment. I expected my daughter to be creeped out and never want to return.
Boy, was I wrong. I suddenly found myself choked by both my own toxic thoughts, as well as humility that smacked me in the head. I was instantly humbled by their genuine “Thank you” and “We appreciate what you do for us.” I also heard “God bless you” and “Have a nice day.” Sure, I heard a few grumbles and complaints, but such is human nature. Not only was I forced to eat a piece of humble pie at that moment, but much like the Grinch, I could feel my heart grow three times as large.
And a miracle occurred as well. My teenage daughter, who is a good girl but rather “prickly” at times, smiled from ear to ear at an older man who told her to stay sweet. She told him, “Have a nice day. Sir!” I hadn’t seen her that animated and involved in a long time. And miracle #2? She can’t wait to go back! Wonders never cease.
© 2012 Julie Hall