Last Thursday, I walked back into the classroom after making some xeroxes (of our Give to Grow Page
for our seniors to hand out to family) and gasped. Literally, I opened the door, froze, and gasped.
Here I was in my hands, heart, head, thinking and wanting and knowing that this project needs to grow in some larger-than-life way, and a few feet away from me that universe that I dream of is thriving. It is so alive.
I saw my senior buds Hazel giggling with Loretta at the corner of the classroom, they looked at me casually, like, Hey, what’s up! But knowingly as well, like yes, We know there is something special about this moment too.
OK how do I explain this.... There are all these nuances that I have built into my hour-ish (it turns into three with a lot of chatting and everyone helping out after!) every week with my senior buds. And one nuance is that while most of the group is reading and writing at the table, seniors who are blind or have arthritis or for one reason or another can’t write each go to a corner of the room, so they can tell their stories verbally, and a volunteer or myself can write their words down for them. This way the table remains quiet, and each senior can have their own mental space to really think and really put their hearts on paper.
Loretta, who has severe arthritis, came into class late that day – she had actually walked by me at the xerox machine a couple minutes ago and I told her I would be right there to help her write. So imagine my surprise when someone, not a “young” volunteer but one of my senior buds, was sitting and writing for Loretta already, when I opened the door. I mean, it was so beautiful. Tears filled my eyes while I stood there frozen.
Hazel said she had finished her own story earlier at home so she could write for Loretta - and I remember specifically that she didn't use the word “help.” She said something about how fabulous and fun Loretta is, that it is a privilege to be sitting with Loretta. No one claims to be “helping” anyone but everyone is helping everyone.
I know this project has changed lives in big ways, like a month ago, we told you how Loretta’s long lost family found her through this blog (click Here
to reread that post). But small moments like this to me are just as life-changing as well. Generosity. Friendship. Happiness. Identity. Wonder. Spontaneity. Surprise. Leadership. Service. I don’t know the right combination words for that moment. It was nothing but it was everything.
Yesterday, after seeing another display of tempting, fancy, French pastries, I decided to do as our old family saying goes—“Buck the tide.”
Years ago, and still today, purchasing expensive, highly decorated cake was not considered a wise thing to do since homemade goodies were always more tasty and less expensive.
However, I convinced myself to pay the price for a lemon pastry and a chocolate cupcake. They were the two cheapest items that I saw with a cost of nine dollars and fifty cents.
To my dismay, they tasted no better than any other baked goods. Now my curiosity was satisfied, but bucking the tide, one can drown.
This was a story that Hazel wrote a few months ago. After reading, she took out two boxes, each with a fancy pastry for the class. Just two small boxes. Just a small moment. But it was like, I don't know, like the story was the perfectly understated excuse to display a lot of love for the group.
I remember gasping that time too.