Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Week

About two weeks ago I read a great article in one of my magazines about Condalisa Rice. In it she explained how people constantly ask her what her plans are for the next 5 to 10 years, and how this question upsets her. Things change, she said, so it's her philosophy to make plans only for the next few weeks, and then to see what else comes up and go from there.

I have always been a planner. I come from a family of planners, we plan everything down to the minute, every little detail taken into consideration. For this reason Ms Rice's advise both intrigued me and scared me to death. But, I decided to give it a shot.

Last night was one of my first attempts at my new plan, and I am happy to say it was incredibly successful. I was called late on Sunday night and asked to help serve chili to homeless families at my local soup kitchen. All I knew was what time to show up, and an address. Two days before trying something new, with complete strangers, and I had no plan, I had no details! But at 4:30 on Tuesday I showed up at the address and walked in with the homeless guys who were standing outside. And for the next two hours I did whatever was asked of me, shouted at me, or simply needed to be done. I made a giant bowl of cole slaw, I dished out apple sauce, I poured glasses of tea, I put 2 rolls on 65 plates and added a slice of butter, I cleaned, I delivered plates to tables, and I simply helped. Those 2 hours were some of the most rewarding I've had in several months. I was helping a church group serve, but it was the homeless men, who one by one all came over to the kitchen and yelled out "Thank you! God Bless You!". Several of the men I see all the time in my neighborhood. It was humbling to me to realize that people I assumed lived down the street, actually had no home, and no food to eat.

Near the end of the night the last round of guys were packing up to leave, and the abundance of left overs was shocking to me. These guys were heading out to go sleep outside in the 40 degree rainy night, and we had leftovers! I grabbed an open pack of cookies and went out into the dining room and offered a younger guy in a Redskin sweatshirt more cookies. He looked at me and smiled and said "oh man, thank you! Wish those were the lemon ones, I love those lemon ones" (OK I hate lemon cookies but to each his own) so I went back into the kitchen and grabbed him an entire pack of lemon cookies and took them out to him and the look on his face was something I will never forget. You would have thought I gave him a car. He was so happy to have some lemon cookies it shocked me. Here is a man who has no place to live, who is sleeping on the streets, and has no food to eat. He has more problems then I could ever imagine, and yet he made me realize how the little things in life really can bring you happiness.

So as I continue on my journey of living without a long term plan, and in this holiday season of stress and overdoing, I wish you all some happiness in whatever your version of the lemon cookie is. :0)

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