while with the food bank, i would sometimes take field trips to the pantries and help out with food distribution. After a fashion, saying you do hunger relief from a desk just don’t cut it. Hence, from time to time, I liked to get out in the field and get my hands dirty helpin’ out. (usually it was a friday and i could split home, or elsewhere, from the pantry too…but that’s neither here nor there.)
It was mid July and quite the scorcher of a day. Mountains dont get that muggy but on this particular afternoon, it was right warm. My particulars were awash in perspiration from lack of air conditioning and carrying 20 pound boxes of food to folks’ cars. Long ‘bout 2 or so, a lady comes limpin’ up through the line, smilin’ and tellin’ stories with the sunniest of dispositions. She leaned on a cane and was 70 if she was a day. Her silver hair was perfect despite the day’s conditions. For argument’s sake, let’s call her, “Mildred.” As Mildred worked her way to the front of the line, I saw that my turn was up to do the haulin’ and I accompanied her to the car.
Now, Mildred’s oversized, Carolina blue Buick must’ve been about half a mile away. How she hobbled that far, i’m not sure. But she talked all the while we meandered. Not sure if you’ve ever carried 20 plus pounds of food boxed up….slowly…in the simmerin’ heat…while tryin to act like yer listenin’. By the time we arrived at her chariot, I had gathered that her son, his wife, and their young child had returned home to live with Ma, given that jobs were scarce and she had regular income via her social security check…yes..3 adults and a child subsisting on one social security check.
Her trunk pops open with the deft knock on the top, and I was surprised to see a mess of aluminum cans bagged up and filling most of the copious space. She proudly proclaimed that she had gathered each can on her own because, “there’s good money in tin cans.”
Suddenly, the weight of the box and the heat of the afternoon washed away. In an instant, I felt the abundance of my life…for this lady, who could barely walk, had made the effort to gather 5 large bags of aluminum so that her family could survive. Can you imagine how long that took and the effort involved?
Friends, it’s easy to let doubt and sadness creep in…I’ve done it all too much. sometimes, i still feel like the insecure, chubby kid from a poor country town who’s worried about measuring up. Am I good enough? Do I have enough? we all do. But, our wealth or lack thereof, is always relative…and it’s a choice to always acknowledge the abundance, within and all around us.
as you go about your holiday observances, please remember Mildred and be more than thankful for your abundance…
much love, friends.