On Thanksgiving morning, I loaded [hot meals] into a car to be delivered to residents in the city. I shared a route with a friend and stranger.
[Eager] to complete our task, we called the first resident on our drive to their house. He was waiting in the street when we arrived. Swiftly, we exited the vehicle, handed off two meals, called out a holiday greeting and climbed back into the car.
We didn’t call ahead to the next house though. At the front door, we rang the bell and just waited [anxiously]. An elderly man emerged and instantly asked if we wanted to join him inside. We refused his offer as we explained our reason for being there and handed over a meal, but again he asked “are you sure you don’t want to come in?” with [hope] in his voice. We reassured him of our need to proceed and left.
In the middle of our route, we realized we had only given the second resident one of his two meals, so we drove back to his house. As the door reopened, we saw a smile grow on the face behind it. The man emerged, for a second time, wide eyed and [excited] at our return. He held the door open wide and gestured us inside. We explained our situation as we handed over the second meal, in response. It was obvious the man was eager to engage in conversation, but seeing that we were on a mission, blessed us with his appreciation and farewell as we descended from his porch.
Back in the car, we discussed what the [purpose] of our role as volunteers was- to deliver tasty holiday meals to people who otherwise might not have been able to obtain one on their own. Right? But what if our role could provide, in addition to food, the most [priceless] service of all; providing company to seemingly immobile individuals who mostly appeared to be alone, and elderly, on Thanksgiving. We questioned the [integrity] of the program, recognizing one of its missed opportunities to take resident engagement to the next level- a more personal approach to acknowledging someone’s existence by providing face-to-face interaction, conversation, and [quality time].
We realized that our potential as volunteers is sometimes corrupted by personal desires, but in the words of Galations 5:13, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”