I was a small part of serving hundreds of families thousands of pounds of food so they would have the opportunity to struggle a little less through the holidays. Many came together to organize and serve, and I loved the face-to-face moments with people who were so appreciative. They came through with a variety of needs, some I could identify and others I couldn’t. But what I saw wasn’t a group of needy people; I saw individuals who had their own stories and lives. I tried to meet their eyes with encouragement and affirmation. So many wanted to pour their gratitude into me. I had many sweet interactions.
What surprised me was that I didn’t know but a handful of people who came through the line. It really bothered me. I wondered what I was doing wrong that I wasn’t coming in everyday contact with more people in need. How could I alter my routines to see more needs? It’s not that I never find people in need. It’s not that I don’t pause long enough to help people in a variety of ways. I’m not complacent, but I suddenly felt as if my routines were insufficient to see the needs that surrounded me. As I finished up the day, I sat in my car humbled and saddened, yet so full of joy for the opportunities and interactions of the day.
On the way home, my husband called to let me know our electricity was out. I had done the grocery shopping the day before, so I had a full refrigerator. Although my first thought was how important it would be to try to save the food, I quickly checked my attitude and priorities. So many people don’t have a warm home or a running refrigerator. Many people who had received food didn’t know how to prepare it. I began to think about whether or not they had spoons to stir or knifes to cut meat. I wondered if they had flashlights to see in their dark houses as the sun set or a warm blanket when the heat wouldn’t turn on.
I’ve helped some through the years. I’d like to say I’ve helped a lot, but since that day, what I’ve done seems to pale in comparison to what is possible. I don’t know what it was about that day, but it heightened my sensitivity. It humbled me to help even more, which I’ve done in the past several weeks.
But there is so much more to be done.
Give. Serve. Sacrifice.