Sunday, December 02, 2012

not just a basket

This is why I love my job: 

I know.  That picture really tells you nothing.  Here's the deal:  that little guy is carrying a basket full of games, crafts, and books to be given to families in need around our city this Christmas. This weekend our church put together somewhere near eight hundred of these.  It takes literally (at least) a hundred volunteers to pull off the full scope of the project. Today, I watched as people gathered and sorted and bundled and prettied.  My favorite part was watching the little ones.  The curly-headed four year old who unwrapped the blankets that would line the baskets; the preteen who eagerly did anything she was asked; the eight year old who collected the trash strewn about; mr. muscles (above) moving baskets from one spot to the next. Kids (and adults) gave their time to create baskets that, when used as intended, would give the gift of "time together" to families.  You see, these baskets are not your typical Christmas gifts.  They are filled with items that bring family members around the table. It's a gift of relationships and memories that will last well beyond the breakable toys that will soon go out of style.

Like the picture above, there's always something deeper than what is initially seen in the work that I get to do.  Not long ago we helped move a greenhouse from one organization onto the property of another.  Greenhouse?  What?  Well, let's just say that it's in a pretty desperate part of the city.  What looks like just a greenhouse is actually going to become a place where seeds are started which in turn will become gardens in the spring.  When the vegetables are ready to harvest, people in the neighborhood will get to pick and take them home.  Perhaps they'll get seeds to start their own garden.  Just a greenhouse?  Nope.  It's fresh, nutritious foods for an area of the city where the word "fresh" isn't known.  It's community in its purest form as people come together to care for and protect the garden.  

Like the landscaping we got to help with for a foster family. It was more than just dirt and plants and mulch.  It was creating a safe and beautiful space for kids to be kids in the midst of what is a very harsh life for some.  It's a place for the foster parents to sit outside on a cool evening and enjoy each other after they've put their eight children to bed.  It's a garden where relationships built on trust can grow.

Or the 90th birthday party we had the honor of putting on.  More than a party, it was honoring the life of a woman who has many a reason to keep grudges and honestly, to hold hate captive in her heart, but who instead loves with great abandon and care.

Yes, I coordinate workdays.  But it's really so much more.  God has given me a front row seat to watch as He heals and restores individuals and communities.  There are workdays (days when I coordinate volunteer projects) when I am so overwhelmed that I can only express myself in tears.  The tears are not provoked by the number of baskets we made or what we planted in the garden.  It's the trust; the relationships; the generosity of time; the gift of love and mercy so often found in the unexpected places.

So on a day like today when I watch the little guy moving baskets that weigh almost as much as he that someone he'll probably never meet can experience all these things...

speechless.  grateful.  humbled.


1 comment:

Sunshine said...

Ahhhh! Such a fabulous vocation you have, my dear friend!