I am writing this right now because I feel a bit ungrateful. There are toys everywhere, and it is high times I come to terms with it because it puts me in a bad mood every. single. night. Sin is the word I am looking for ;) And, I already promised Ada mashed potatoes for dinner and biscuits, and I don't feel like putting that together. I defrosted some ham that I stashed in the freezer a while back, and now I am wishing that I hadn't promised mashed potatoes and biscuits, so that I could just quickly make some ham and cheese omelets. However, around here, once mashed potatoes is out of my mouth, there is no taking it back. I am also, as usual, wishing that Scott was getting home earlier than he is. So there are the ungrateful thoughts.
And here is the perspective.
Our church is a part of a ministry called H3. Henry Helping Henry, I think? (We live in Henry County). And basically, every Friday night, our church partners with several other churches in the county to feed the hungry of Henry County. Three Friday nights a month, a free, hot, meal is offered at the local Methodist Church, and once a month is "road crew" night, where no one is served at the church and instead teams are sent out to find people who need meals. I have served once at the church and twice with the road crew. Ada was with me when I served at the church, and she kept doing things like taking sips of people's drinks as she was carrying them to tables, so I was more focused on watching her than really ministering to people, so I'll be honest, I didn't gain a lot of perspective on the "in-house" night, but I think it was good for Ada. (I confiscated the drink, by the way. No one was served a "used" drink).
However, on the two different nights that I served on the road crew, I gained so much perspective. It's hard to put into words really. The first night, I'll be honest, I was doing it mainly because I felt like I needed to, and I was a bit reluctant to actually walk up to people and ask if they were hungry. I was afraid I would offend someone. But, there I went anyway. Both nights we stopped at local hotels, the kind that advertise weekly prices, and we just started knocking on doors. Well, the first visit we just knocked on doors. Again, I felt really weird at first. But, it was crazy how grateful people were. They were very hungry, and they were thrilled and relieved to get a hot meal. It felt like such a small thing. I wanted to go home and empty my pantry and come back with much more food. On that first night, we met a young guy who told us that just a few minutes ago, his children were fighting over one small bag of chips because that was all the food that they had. He was not sure what he was going to feed his children, and he just prayed for some direction. Then we showed up with a meal for each member of his family, or each person staying in his room. He talked to us for a long time, and we prayed with him. He went on and on about how grateful he was. It was heartbreaking, and it made me desperate to do more. I thought about Ada and John, and how I would feel if their stomachs were truly empty. Again, on the second visit, at the same hotel, we met a woman who was so hungry. Again, she told us that she had been in her room praying because that night she could either buy food or pay for the room--not both. It was an older woman and her grown daughter. She was so relieved for the hot meals, and we also left some bags of packaged food like granola bars and peanut butter and crackers. She hugged us tightly before we left, and, again, I wanted to do more.
It was this past Friday that I met that woman, so the conversation is fresh on my mind. Just now I was dreading cooking dinner. Dreading the preparation and then the clean up. And then I thought, think of all the food you have to prepare. Think about the fact that you and your children have never known hunger. Think about why Scott is coming home late--because he has a good job. A job that puts the food on the table, that pays the rent and the utilites, that allows us to be here and not in a hotel room, or even the woods behind the hotel, where many people go when they can't pay for the room at night.
I am not saying that this daily stuff isn't hard and tiresome and overwhelming at times, but it does help to get outside of myself for just a second and see that the daily stuff is such a gift. An absolute gift.