When we were making our list of things we wanted to do to help or give back during our 25 Days, one of the first things my daughter requested was to donate canned foods. Food drives are a-plenty right now, so this would be an easy one to fulfill. But when a fellow Junior mentioned an evening in December when people prepared food to serve to the hungry, I asked my daughter if she'd like to participate. She agreed.
Last night the children and I went to Westminster Presbyterian to feed the hungry. We were asked to prepare a dish that would feed at least fifteen people, and being as this was something the children were involved in, from the list of needed dishes they chose macaroni and cheese. We cooked all afternoon, enjoying the smell of the breadcrumbs and cheese as they baked in the oven. As she checked on the food, Eldest couldn't help but ask if there would really be 15 hungry people at the church that night. Would all of this food really be eaten?
"At least," I reminded her. "And yes. There will be no food left by the end of the evening." It was a sobering reminder to Eldest that this might be the only real meal that they might have for quite a while.
Needless to say, taking the step from donating canned food to serving those the cans would normally go to was bit of an eye-opener for my children. There's a boundary between knowing and seeing, and once you cross it, you can't un-see the reality. Much as they were happy to help out and give, it was clearly something that affected them. Thankfully, it had a positive impact on my daughter. She has already asked when we can go back.
When we began our "25 Days of Christmas", the purpose was to reach out to others and encourage others to do the same. We were going to help those in need and give back. We would show our appreciation to the underappreciated. This morning, though, I can't help but reflect and wonder: are we in need of help as well? I believe we are. Last night we left our home with the intention of going out to help others. It's interesting to note that while we did, the service we performed also helped us. Our eyes were opened. When we left, it was with a deeper sense of gratitude for our blessings. We have so much-most of which we completely take for granted. As people continued to arrive so they could eat, it was humbling to be reminded of this, to be reminded how quickly the tides can change.
Have you ever had a moment like that?