At a recent community event called Pack the Dome, A young girl whom I will call Jenn, 6, held her own in a group of 10 adults at our table (one of 30 such tables in our shift) helping the serve up around 1,000 meals in just under 2 and ½ hours. Pack the Dome 2023 for feeding children in the community! Over 80,000 children will be fed, over 30,000 from our afternoon shift alone!
This awesome community gift of love project involved community nonprofits and businesses including the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, Volunteer Center of the Cedar Valley and UNI.
Jenn’s broad smile lighting up her face shown with this light of love. For 2 solid hours straight, she added her two elements to each pack. I just want to help others, she said and her mommy hugged her. No playtime with friends on her day off from school, just because she wishes to serve others…her mom said, giving her a big hug. That is the way she is…To make something good happen for others. With gratitude for the life, she has. Be merciful as your Father is merciful, Luke 6:36.
Jenn inspired all of us at her table be present, to raise the level of our work. Even occasional moments of building sun butter containers Jenga Style didn’t keep her from her work! (While patiently waiting for adults to bring in more boxes of food to pack). What a blessing to have parents that will raise children to care in countless ways in their communities. These parents are just two of many I encounter.
Jenn was one over 2000 volunteers willing to give their time to serve up over 80,000 food packs for children in this area. In point of fact, there were volunteers turned away due to the overflow of people willing to serve.
During a holiday trip throughout the journey, we were encountering Christ’s amazing Love presenting itself in the most ordinary places from deep South to the Midwest.
The presents that we often plan so intricately with just the right gift for just the right person really doesn’t hold the proverbial candle to the joy of a shared smile and much needed and deeply welcomed service. For example, Annette, the hotel employee who lovingly provided for us in our trip South. “She welcomed us with a big smile, not intruding in our forage into the “breakfast buffet”. Singing the hymns of Spirit, she made her way back into the preparation area to find more of the craved smoked bacon bringing immediate smiles to waiting guests.
We are not television watchers, so her love of her service to others held our attention. Annette carefully watched her guests and attended to each one’s needs. When it came time to leave, we had a few items we wanted to carry back to our room. A bit unwieldy, I almost dropped a couple items. Annette was at my side immediately saying, would you like a baggie? I have one. It’s no trouble at all. Humming quietly, she disappeared quietly to bring it to us.
We finished our delightful visit with friends to a nearby Cracker Barrel, delicious food by the way, when my husband tried to start our vehicle. Less than two hours from a highly anticipated glorious holiday play, the battery would not start. Of course, we could call the Auto club, but that could take hours. We had just studied about acceptance and gratitude for what we had. And if we missed it, it was what it was. But my mind kept working…What to do in a spread-out city without friends nearby? Thoughts of missing this beautiful event caused a deep sadness and tightness in my chest. Then, an inspiration hit me, go ask Cracker Barrel if anyone could help. A long shot.
But at the Barrel checkout, their GM came out and said he had just the ticket and it wouldn’t cost us extra time or money. A quick start battery charger he had just got that had already saved him a couple of times. Flutters of anticipation. God provides. Not only did manager help us, but he recommended an auto shop that sold quick starts. Off we went, got to the store and bought one just before closing. But what if it died again? We need it charged. At the hotel we searched our car, but no extension cord. So, we asked at the desk. This attendant on duty said there was a cord, but she didn’t know if it could work. A big smile lit her face. It seems her boyfriend was coming with dinner soon and was an electrician. He would know. He did! In fact, it was already charged. Off we went and got to the play just in time to meet our friends at the play.
As you go out into your day, remember how you have your own special heartlight to shine in unexpected ways as no one else can. Be merciful because you can, not because you are expected to do so. Stop to say a prayer of gratitude for what you have that God has provided.
© 2023 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis
Another excellent article on motivation of the heart…please read