Today has been a kaleidoscope of emotions.
Hurt: Although I've made my email address available on my contact info page, I usually receive very few actual email messages from readers. Folks either leave a comment, put something on Facebook, or tell me what they think in person. This morning when I awoke and checked my email, I had a message from somebody whom I've never met, telling me that I'm a "commie faggot" for making a donation to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. I haven't replied yet. I should probably just delete it.
Friendship: I also had a comment left on that blog entry from the Development Director of CSGV, thanking me for my donation and attention! It turns out that we actually have a mutual friend, too.
sorted coats last week. Ashley, the director, had told me that I should come back to help with their annual community Christmas meal, which was today. I'm so glad that I did. I'm always a bad judge of numbers of people, but there had to have been several hundred people who were fed today, and the food looked fantastic. Christmas ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, salad, and rolls, with a choice of several pies for dessert! As people came in, they took a seat, and we would bring plates out to them, along with more food if they wished. It was a windy, dusty, unpleasant day outside, but as soon as people came in, you could just see the peace and camaraderie of the place overtake them. Everybody who attended was also given a coat and a Bible, and a new toy if they had children with them. There was a family who arrived later than most other folks; I showed them to seats and brought them food, and then came back a while later to ask if there was anything else they needed. They had three boys, the oldest of whom must have been around five, and they asked if there were any toys left. Up to this point, I hadn't really done anything with the toys, because I'd been busy bringing food and then busing tables, but I went to check. There were exactly three toys left. Putting them into those boys' hands felt as good as though I was handing them to my own three children.
CASA when they left and gave away another 150 coats. I'm so proud of you, Charlie. I'm so amazed at your heart.
Sorrow: I had the chance to see some old friends under very sad circumstances today. Dr. John Marx taught with my dad in Texas Tech's department of chemistry for many years. I grew up alongside his son Sam and daughter Ruthie, and went to school with them. I was in the same Boy Scout troop with Sam and Dr. Marx. In many ways, he was a lot like my dad, a quiet, thoughtful, gentle, fiercely intelligent man who was never happier than when he could share his love of science and of the outdoors with the boys in the troop. He had what surely must have been one of the world's largest private collections of science fiction, with over 80,000 volumes in his library. Every now and then, I would buy some from him, and he'd throw in a few extra ones that I hadn't asked for but that he thought I'd like based on my purchases. His picks were usually better than mine. Last Thursday, Dr. Marx passed away. Sam, Ruthie, and Mrs. Marx: I am so sorry for your loss. I really thought the world of Dr. Marx. It does put a smile on my face, though, to think of him and my dad hanging out again.
Excitement: Tonight was Blake's last Cub Scout meeting until after Christmas, and he was awarded his Bobcat patch, his first award in Scouting. I'm a proud dad tonight.
What are you feeling tonight? There's one week until Christmas Eve. Don't let it be a frantic time, let it be a hopeful time. I know, easier said than done. I'm working on it, too. Let's work on it together.
Affirmation Project: My friend Steve Moss posted a really encouraging video on my Facebook about service to others as the way to being a light in the darkness. It was something very touching at a time when I needed to see something like that. Steve, I've known you for 25 years, through so many changes in both of our lives, but a constant through all of that time is that you have always been a true, loving supporter not only to me, but to so many others who have been in your orbit.