Leaves glint golds and browns and flutter to the ground where they make a satisfying crunching noise as I walk; bringing a smile to my face.
I pause this weekend to read some of Ann Voeskamp’s, “One Thousand Gifts”. And I record things for which I’m thankful in my own list of one thousand gifts.
My thoughts go back to this past Wednesday evening when my husband and I, along with other staff from Shine FM, the radio station where I work, helped serve a meal at the Mustard Seed.
The Mustard Seed is an organization in downtown Edmonton helping people in poverty by providing a hot meal, clothing, and personal items.
It’s something I’d never done before and I was unsure of what to expect. But God challenges us to step out of our comfort zone to serve others. This is how we learn and grow.
We chopped and scrubbed and cooked together as a team, and when it came time to serve the meal, the Mustard Seed staff opened the doors to their building. People filtered through the food line, friendly, grateful for the food and our service.
Some faces stand out in my memory…
- A gentle looking man who spent his time after the meal sitting alone at a table, engrossed in a book. Was this his chance to relax after a long day? A few minutes of captured peace in a stress filled life of survival?
- The fellow with a twinkle in his eye who, when I asked how he was doing today responded, “As fine as a hair on a frog”…I laughed, “that’s pretty fine”. He laughed back and agreed.
- The man who warned us not to get to close because he had pneumonia and didn’t want to make anyone sick. My heart goes out to him. I’m sure all he wants to do is curl up in a warm bed, but there’s no hot meal at home, so hunger drives him out. I offer up a prayer of healing for the man.
- The elderly lady who quietly comes through the line. I see her walking alone down the dark street when we leave and I wonder what sort of life she’s had. Why is she at The Mustard Seed instead of home with her children and grandchildren? I offer a prayer for her safety on the dark streets of Edmonton.
- The middle-aged man who comes through the line and tells me just seeing my smile has brightened his day. I’m humbled that something so little seems like so much.
- The children who come with their parents because there’s no food at home. The staff brings out toys so they can play after the meal.
People eat together, and talk about their day. They share their lives with one another. This is their community. Most of these people have homes but have to choose between paying rent and buying food. There’s not enough money on the wages they earn to do both.
The staff tell us some come from across the city for the meal. Sometimes it’s not just about the food, sometimes it’s about the companionship. People are lonely and The Mustard Seed provides social nourishment as well as physical.
After the meal we clean up and head back to our lives. But a little part of us has been touched by the community at The Mustard Seed. In serving, we have been blessed. And this Thanksgiving I'm thankful for that.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
Have you served the poor? How did it make you feel? If you haven’t would you consider it? Please share your thoughts by clicking the link below.If you’d like to support the Mustard Seed go to www.theseed.ca .