We’ve all been there. A to do list longer than that 23 mile long CVS receipt shoved in between the seats of your car. I hear you. I do. As a new mom –I recently returned back to the full-time work force all to soon – so I hear you. But let me paint you a picture.
Fast forward 30, 40, maybe even 50 years. Where do you picture yourself? How do you picture yourself?
Imagine that you are, by God’s graces, still living at home. Perhaps with your spouse, perhaps alone. Your babies have grown and now have teenage babies of their own. Everyone is busy. Everyone has those 23 mile long to do lists that you used to have. But your list isn’t quite so long anymore…
You wake up, maybe have a bowl of cereal. You check the weather and the news. And then check them again. You might even speak to one of those really busy family members on the phone for a few minutes. You know they are doing the best they can, you do. But you still can’t shake the tiny sting at wishing you could have just a bit more of them.
You look at the clock. Your stomach starts to growl. You should probably go ahead and eat some lunch. Your aid comes a couple days a week to help you take a bath and they can make you a sandwich sometimes. But today is a Tuesday – your aid isn’t coming today. And you ran out of bread yesterday. You know you can’t drive yourself to the store because your middle daughter took your keys away a good 3 years ago.
You think about trying to heat up one of those meals your son put in your freezer. But the last time you did that, you forgot to turn the oven off… Then when your oldest daughter stopped by to check on you on her way home from work, she discovered your mistake and told you that you really shouldn’t be using the oven anymore.
You frown. You can’t help but roll your eyes and mumble about the time that she herself left the sink in the bathroom running when she was 12. For a second, you’re irritated. How dare she tell you what you shouldn’t do. But then you remember that the sink didn’t overflow after you told her she couldn’t use the stopper anymore. You sigh and decide that she’s right.
So what do you do? You really are getting hungry now.
You try to remember if today is one of the days that your middle daughter stops by mid afternoon and brings you supper. You are really starting go get frustrated with yourself that you can’t seem to keep your days quite as straight as you used to.
But then your doorbell rings. Who could be visiting today?? Then you remember. Your oldest daughter signed you up for Meals on Wheels last week. Your meals begin today!
As you wheel yourself over to the door, you start to think… You were reluctant when she first brought it up. Does this mean you are admitting you are losing independence? No! It just means you are getting that little bit of help you need to continue living at home and keep your independence.
As you open the door, a little girl with pig tails throws her hands in the air and shouts ‘Meals on Wheels!’, flinging the little roll around by the baggie it’s packed in. Her little brother toddles off to the side and drops your carton of milk. His mother scolds him and picks it up, brushing it off and placing it on top of a neat little package.
“Good afternoon, Mrs Sanders, how are you today??”.
You are so amused by the whole scene that all you can do is laugh. My, how exasperated that poor mother looks. You want to tell her to slow down – that these are some of the best days she will ever have.
She smiles at you and says “It looks like it’s a Chicken Pot Pie day. With stewed apples and fried okra.”
My! That sure does sound better than the pepperoni hot pocket you were going to try to heat up in the microwave…
She asks if they can set the meal down on the table for you. The little girl compliments you on your really big, bright dress. You smile and say “Well, thank you sweet heart.” as her mother corrects her that “It’s called a mu-mu, honey”. Meanwhile, the little boy has helped himself to a basket of pine cones on your stoop and is lobbing them at a (luckily) very quick squirrel. The mother lunges at the little boy and the little girl starts to skip off after them to the car. They all wave and tell you to have a nice day and that they’ll “See you next week!”.
You smile to yourself as they pile into their car like a small traveling circus. You remember those days. Lord, that was decades ago, but you can still feel your chest tighten a bit at the thought of all you thought you had to do back then. Always go go go.
The entire episode couldn’t have lasted more than 3 minutes. But you find your self chuckling – about the mischievous look in that little boy’s eyes and the comical enthusiasm of the little girl and her bread cheer – for the rest of the afternoon.
Tomorrow, an older gentleman – probably retired? – delivers your meal. Not quite as entertaining as the previous day’s delivery, but he stayed a few minutes to chat. And you really appreciated that. It’s amazing how lonely you feel sometimes, and you treasure these moments with these new kind people who have become a part of your life. You wonder if they know how much you look forward to their visits.
The day after that, it was another woman. She was on her lunch break and couldn’t stay long, but you could tell she was really genuine. And she brought you a crossword puzzle!
Now think about where you are in your life right now. Back to that 23 mile long to do list. It doesn’t seem quite so daunting anymore, does it?
Love on God’s Kingdom however you can. On your lunch break. On your summers off. Whenever you’ve got just a few days to carve out an hour once a week.
Seriously. That’s all it takes. An hour or so. Once a week. (Or even every other week if you split a route with someone). You swing by, pick up your food, deliver your route, drop your bags back off and you’re done.
It really doesn’t take a whole lot out of your own week, but I will tell you this:
To that lady in the mu-mu? To the veteran rocking on his front porch – all morning – waiting for his Tuesday friend to pull up? To them, it means the absolute world.
Sure they get their bellies fed, but you also feed their hearts. Hearts of a generation that – as much as we hate to admit it – have gotten lost in the rat race our lives have become.
I know we’re all busy, I do. But on the days I have a ‘no-show’ and have to run out to deliver a route myself – as I frantically jog out to my car – I’m thinking “I don’t have time for this right now!”. But then – as I walk back to my car from that very first stop – I think to myself “Man. There is literally nothing more important than what I’m doing right this very second.”
So use it. Use this season. You may have been here for a while, and you may be here for quite a bit longer. But you may as well love on God’s Kingdom while you’re here.
Blog by: Ashley Sanders
About Home Delivered Meals : HDM of New Hanover County feeds over 300 home-bound senior citizens Monday through Friday every week of the year. (Due to funding needs, our booming local senior population, and need for more volunteers, etc, our waiting list is currently hovering at 200.)
KOG2ILM is a year long mission trip into our community. Currently we are focusing on the area of hunger. If you would like to volunteer to deliver a meal to someone in need or if you would like more information please visit www.becauselovedoes.org