Like I mentioned last Sunday, our Sundays stay pretty busy. Last year, I used my contributions as emergency service replacements, but felt a little guilty about them. This year, I purposely planned them for my Sundays, and set my mind at ease. I want this project to be about cheerful service, not stressful service.
A few weeks ago, I received something in the mail from Lubbock's Meals on Wheels, asking for contributions for holiday meals. Everybody is familiar with Meals on Wheels, right? It's a program for homebound or challenged people, many of them elderly, to receive hot, nutritious meals delivered right to their homes. Along with the food, the recipients also have somebody checking on them, talking with them, breaking the isolation that so many in that situation experience. The Lubbock Meals on Wheels program has been delivering meals for over 40 years, and is entirely funded by community donations.
What was neat about the mailing they sent is that it had a special placemat that you could add your own message to and send in along with your donation, and then the placemat will be delivered to one of the meal recipients. Instead of writing something on it myself, I thought it would be fun to let the kids color it and add their own messages. When I told them what it was for, they loved the idea, and really treated it like something special.
I had such a good time watching them make the placemat, that when they asked me if we could go swimming afterwards, I couldn't say no, even though it was only about 40 degrees outside. Swimming ended up being a blast, though. There were two people swimming laps in the lap lanes, but we had the entire pool to ourselves aside from them. Jack was especially thrilled; he jumped off the side of the pool into my arms, and then put his face about an inch from mine and beamed, "I'M HAVING THE BEST DAY, DADDY!" He was right: it was a really nice day.
Affirmation Project: If the phrase that I used in the first paragraph, "cheerful service," means anything special to you, then you may also be a member of the Order of the Arrow. If I made a list of the five most influential things in my life, Boy Scouts would easily, easily make it on that list. I was a pretty bookish, solitary kid, and I didn't even want to join Scouts when my dad made me. It turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened to me. Scouts made me into the person I am today. It taught me to work with my peers, and to develop leadership not only in myself, but also to help develop it in others. It instilled in me a love of the outdoors and of trying new things. And, you know, it was just a lot of fun. Mr. James Harris, my Scoutmaster, shaped my life and the lives of so many others. Doing a project like Project Advent only occurred to me at all because of the brotherhood of cheerful service that I was fortunate to be a part of.