Yesterday I spent the better part of my afternoon volunteering time at a local charity, which was passing out over 1,200 dinners to families for Thanksgiving. The turkey and all the fixings were packaged for individuals to take home to prepare a holiday meal for their loved ones. As I sat there and greeted all of the men, women, and children that arrived to pick up the donated meals, I thought about the meaning of the gift they were receiving.
Far beyond taking away hunger or hurt, this meal would provide so much more. It would inspire conversation and most importantly provide memories. Memories that would be carried through life that may instill hope and peace in at least one person.
I greeted teenage mothers, veterans, the sick, and the less fortunate. The emotions that ran through me were deep, and made me even the more grateful for all that I have been blessed with in my life. I made it my goal to look everyone in the eye, tell them Happy Thanksgiving, and truly connect with them. Maybe all they needed was to feel validated, and I would not allow them to leave feeling small because they asked for help.
We have all raised our hands and asked for help in our lives at one point or another. Each of us will experience setback, hard times, ups, downs, twists, and turns. It is hope that keeps us all going. Hope that we can have, be, do, see, or feel more.
As the world grows and connection becomes easier through technology, are we losing heart? I was one of maybe 30 volunteers at this particular charity. I watched former NFL player and Congressman Heath Schuler, dedicate his entire day to loading turkeys in cars and speaking with each individual he came in contact with. What an example of giving and receiving from the heart. He was there because it meant something, not for recognition.
It is easy to text on our phones and say hello, however there is nothing more meaningful than looking someone in the eye and speaking from the heart.
Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to fly to my hometown and eat a home cooked meal with my family. I miss the moments of laughter and entertainment my brothers, nieces, nephews, and parents provide. I challenge you, wherever you are to make a memory. Create a moment you can treasure for the rest of your life.
To all those families I met yesterday, I wish you peace. I wish you love. I wish you happiness. To all my friends and family, I wish you the same. May you always have hope and be grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours,