Friday, November 27, 2009

In The Midst of Thankfulness

As we got up yesterday later than usual, turning on the parade and beginning the food preparation a full day of events unfolded...

Kaiden who is 6 announced that he has his first loose tooth, to which I immediately got tearful realizing how big he is getting already! We called my parents to share the exciting news!

My husband cleaned his car and put out the reindeer in the yard.

This year I had decided I would make my grandfather's traditional homemade egg noodles in gravy with slices of hard boiled eggs. As I got out of the shower and heard the puppy yelp, I ran downstairs to find her smacking her chops after eating 1/2 of my batch off the counter...because I was still thankful (because she didn't get all of them) I *only* yelled at the top of my lungs "NOOoooo" bringing a running husband and two kids and sending two dogs running...

Okay, grace and mercy for the puppy, her life was spared.

We finished getting ready...put the timer on the turkey and green bean casserole...everything else was just minutes of prep work away from being ready, so we could leave it until we got back home.

We went to a church across town from us where we found out they were hosting a turkey dinner for shelter/Salvation Army people. The warmth of the church people welcoming us was amazing. Their hearts were truly in the right place as they shared with us the insight that we sometimes miss...yes they are here for food, but starting out what they needed was fellowship! The church people asked us to go mingle with everyone and be an ear for them. The stories we heard, the smiles and the manners of these thankful people constantly made me well up with tears. As we listened to people come up and share scriptures, a former gang member came and shared a poem laced with numerous verses, a song he wrote about his journey in life, prayers of people living in a shelter. I never imagined how fulfilling this would be for ME!

As we began to serve the food, I was so proud of my husband in his plastic apron and rubber gloves serving ham and turkey with a a plastic spatula and a fork. At his smile and giving nature exuding from every move. As a man came up for four helpings of ham and turkey and each time my husband beamed and said, "you tell me when to stop, I don't have to" and "I saved this JUST FOR YOU" the man melted and said, "you are wonderful". The people in the line that smiled graciously and said "yes ma'am", "thank you ma'am", each time it was said it pulled at my heart and captured the essence of thankfulness to me so intensely!

Then there was the man serving right next to me, proud of the chicken and dumplings he got to serve as we jokingly competed with promoting our "goods". He shared his story, a divorced, sweet man that had already dropped off his son with his ex-wife and was alone for the holiday and heard about the church offering the meal on the news and decided once he dropped his son off he would come and "be around happy people, and no longer feel alone". He made a point to look at each and every person and say HAPPY THANKSGIVING and the way people would forget about the food for a minute and smile and remember it was in fact Thanksgiving and someone cared to say that. He shared with me that his goal was to reach at least one person and he would feel content with the day.

As we cleaned up with extra plates of food going home with people and out into the community, our boys were sweeping and mopping,(and Kaiden was jumping off chairs, because I don't want to disillusion you, he was still 6 after all!) I saw that same man look around to see if anyone else had anything to say...he wrote a check to help the ministry, got a sheet of times and volunteer opportunities to do year-round...and walked out the door into the cold, crisp night. I ran to the door, forgetting his name and said "Hey!". He turned around and smiled and I said, "I just wanted to say it was great to serve with you, Happy Thanksgiving". He returned the compliment and I think walked a little taller as he walked alone to his car to leave.

In the midst of thankfulness, I am not sure who received more, who was touched more, or even who appreciated it the most...but what I know is that I was changed and my heart felt like it had doubled in size.



Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Oh my eyes are all misty! Thanksgiving is not a time, nor place but something that I pray will live in everyone hearts day after day.

Be blessed.