I realize that Thanksgiving is long gone and not exactly on our minds right now, but there is something that has stuck with me since this past Thanksgiving that I need to get out into the blog world.
Let’s start with a little bit of background info: Every year, the church that I grew up in has a community Thanksgiving dinner. People volunteer to cook and serve, and whoever comes is welcome. The dinner is free and was born of the idea that it could be a place of homey-ness for people who might otherwise spend the holiday of Thanksgiving alone. In the past, my family and I have volunteered to help during the day … and it has always been a good experience.
This past year, my dad and grandparents were signed up to help, but my sister, mom and I were going to stay home and help my mom prepare the Thanksgiving dinner for our own family. While peeling a 20 lbs. bag of potatoes in the sink, I got a call from my grandma. It went something like this:
“Hi Steph … um, I’m down at the church right now and there’s that one guy that you talked to last year and we were wondering if you could come down and talk to him again.” (she’s referring to a deaf man who comes to the dinner by himself every year … for the past few years, I have taken a ‘break’ from washing dishes in the back to have a chat with him since I’ve been the only one to know sign enough to have a conversation with him)
“umm…well….I guess so”
Could I have been a little more enthusiastic? Good grief. (Grandma — if you’re reading this: read through to the end … just hang in there)
Honestly, I was a little annoyed by this phone call. Here I was, having a nice time with my sister and mom on Thanksgiving day … and she interrupts me to have a conversation with a guy I barely know when I hadn’t even signed up to volunteer. How rude. But I told her I would go, so I did.
I hadn’t showered yet that day. I never took off my coat upon arrival. and the grossest snow and sleet you’ve seen had started falling. Happy Thanksgiving to me.
I sat down across the table and started a conversation. A simple conversation of how are you’s and how have you been’s. Then laughter — being goofy and telling stories about our lives as he ate his Thanksgiving meal.
Then the guilt hit. How selfish I had been. Here was this man, who was spending Thanksgiving alone … and where was I? With my own family — annoyed to be drug away for an hour. I know I’ve said this in previous blogs that I think I have been called to just be in certain places at certain times. At some point, I realized this was what I was called to do again. We rocked that conversation, and a friendship was formed.
Sometimes I think God has radically different plans for you and me than we realize. However annoyed I am at the call I receive…the call is there regardless. And it keeps ringing until I answer it. And when we answer — relationships form and grace is discovered.
When will you pick up the phone?