Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: DROP IN A BUCKET (10/24/19)
- TITLE: What's In Your Serving Dish?
By Donna Powers
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I don’t know what I expected, but once I was faced with the reality of the line of beaten-down, tired-looking, ragged-clothed humanity, I wasn’t sure I could handle it.
But... I was determined to try make that difference. I wasn’t deluded enough to believe I could change the course of anyone's life, but I did hope to maybe put a smile on someone’s face - or just give them a better holiday.
But I couldn’t even bring myself to meet their eyes. I felt awkward; an imposter in my non-stained and unripped clothing. I felt as though everyone there could see how inadequate I was to address anyone’s actual needs. So I kept my gaze directly on the sweet potatoes in front of me; making sure each scoop had 4 mini-marshmallows on top. My ladle dove in and out again and again, and placed the mixture neatly onto the plates.
I admonished myself: if I really wanted to make a difference in anyone’s life, it would probably be a good idea to speak to them.
So I summoned up my courage and smiled at the next folks in line and said, “Happy Thanksgiving,” before they passed me on their way to my brother Todd and the broccoli.
And a few people said it back to me.
That wasn’t so hard, so I began smiling when I spoke. I kept asking myself if I was making that difference. So I kept it up: scoop, ladle, plop, speak, smile - and repeat. I could at least make sure everyone got a smile and a greeting with their sweet potatoes.
I glanced over at my brother Todd. He’s always been more more comfortable in social situations and today was no exception. He laughed and joked at the people as they got their broccoli. He looked like he was having fun.
I envied him. But I also knew I should follow his example, so I prayed for the ability to emulate him.
A while later, I got an unexpected request. “Hey, man,” said one of the faces. “You can skip my plate and give my sweet potatoes to Benny.” He indicated the man next to him. “He really likes them, and and he’s my friend, so give mine to him.”
The people at the mission hadn’t told us how to handle this. I stared at both men; wondering what Todd would do. Benny looked happy about the prospect of more sweet potatoes, while his friend looked happy to indulge him.
Here were two men I’d barely glanced at when they’d stopped at my station. But as I watched them now, I suddenly noticed Benny’s baseball cap and blue T-shirt; and his friend’s curly red hair and beard. These men had a story, and all of a sudden I cared a bit about it.
So I just said, “Wow, Benny,” Your friend wants you to be even more thankful today.” Benny’s smile stretched wider, and so did his friend’s. Then I cheerfully doled out two portions of sweet potatoes for Benny. As Benny and his friend traveled together toward Todd, I began to thank God for opening my eyes.
I hadn't done anything much. I knew the people here would still have struggles sweet potatoes wouldn't solve. But this small gesture had made a difference in Benny's day, and in his friend's.
I then realized the difference I’d been hoping to make had occurred- but it was also a difference in me. As my ladle dove in once again, I looked the next person straight in the eyes, smiled, and prayed God would guide my words and actions for the rest of the day.
Am I making a difference today?
Yes, I yam.
Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord ..."
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