Connecting with Community

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Silent Night

I roll out of bed and glance at the time. It is 7:36 a.m. and that tells me I am running an hour behind. I jump out of bed, in a rush and nowhere near ready to start my day. I make my way to my little ones room; I wake him and tell him of our late start. We scramble to get ready and grab a quick bite as we rush out the door.
We get to school with just 2 minutes to spare. We exchange “I love yous” and I begin my journey to my first meeting. This meeting takes place at a local coffee shop and there is plenty to eat and drink.  I depart this place full of vision, dreams and hope.
I arrive at my office and I notice a package sitting on my desk. I am thankful for this gesture of love. It is full of my drug of choice for the month, chocolate. I imagine an elf, running rampant while our office was empty last night. It doesn’t take long before I indulge in my package of goodies. Not even noon and I have had many offers of food and drinks.
I go through the day assisting many families in need. I am overwhelmed as the theme this month seems to be hunger.  My phone rings, my cell chirps and my computer dings, with many new messages of need. I take a call from my favorite Lifechanger (my husband); he is saddened as he has spotted a family in need. I assure him all will be well.
It is now one thirty and I’m hungry again, I drive to a local eatery right around the corner and it doesn’t take long for me to absorb my meal. I hurry back to the office and I discover more chocolate on my desk.  My 3:00 meeting is at another coffee shop, which only means another opportunity to drink and eat. My day is full and so am I.
I run more errands and finally back at my desk, the building is empty and all is dark. I sit gazing out the window. I begin to  think of what I will make for dinner and then I am gently reminded that people are hungry.  I look up only to see a busy sidewalk. People headed across the street, they are ready to settle in for the night on a cold park bench. My office light is the only thing that shines and I sit in silence as my  heart begins to ache.
I walk outside ready to head home, it is beautifully calm and in the distance stars can be seen. I inhale  and notice street lights glimmering as if in celebration. There is this unexplainable stillness and nothing is stirring. I only hear the click clack of my heels hitting the street and it seems as if  I am the only one in motion. As I am driving I look at my surroundings and somehow I feel as I am watching a film. I see people driving, walking, singing, pumping gas, sitting in motionless cars and I wonder of there lives. My sad heart seems to get louder and at this moment it is all I can hear. My car is filled with melodies of Christmas cheer, music intended to heal the broken. Tears gently fall and my heart sinks as I am overwhelmed for the lack of food. Food is my desire for this moment.
At home I retrieve my Lifechanger and we chat of his discovery. His words are few and he too has a broken heart. As we enter the store I notice it is full of shoppers and yet I only hear silence. We pick the goods carefully as if we were shopping for our family. As we approach the check out, the cashier smiles but no words seem to be spoken. Her gentle smile tells me she may know hunger.  We leave the store and even the charity bell stops ringing as we walk by with our load of goods. She holds her bell and nods with delight as I whisper Merry Christmas. At this point I know my eyes tell the story.
I explain to my Lifechanger that I just can’t bring myself to help unload as I am emotionally spent for this day.  I cannot and I will not glance at one more empty cabinet or one more hungry child. I sit in the car as my husband unloads, I can hear the child with excitement in his voice. He will have food tonight. He spots a box of oranges and admires them with joy. He calls out to his dad “look dad they brought us oranges”. I cry silently.  All is calm and all is bright. I hear the hatch close and then a tap on my window. It is the dad and he has no words, just silent tears. He reaches in to hug me and I say nothing but he hears my heart anyway. Yes indeed, he is worthy of  our help.
“Our lives are to be used and thus to be lived as fully as possible, and truly it seems that we are never so alive as when we concern ourselves with other people.”
 Harry Chapin

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