One of my former co-workers has two blogs she updates regularly. I’m such a slacker, with only two blogs that I update when something crazy happens in my life, or if I bake a treat.
June 1st, she issued a 30-day writing challenge. Being the non-procrastinating type that I am, I jumped right on the challenge. On July 1. But at that point, Rita was only on challenge number 26 herself — seems we both have a little procrastinator in us.
The theme for July 1 is LOVE. So here’s what the theme inspired me to write about…
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE
I only thought about the past week using the words ‘baseball’, ‘vacation’, and ‘work’. But I was decidedly wrong about that. My week was about love.
First it was the love of baseball. My oldest son Alex’s baseball team has been fundraising and preparing for the ultimate experience with a week-long tournament in Myrtle Beach at The Ripken Experience. The majority of this team has been together for 2 years — most have been playing together for more than 4 years. To hear the boys tell it, they were “getting to go on vacation with all of their best friends”.
The boys did well in the tournament, with a record of 3-2 in pool play. They made it to the championship bracket, but lost in an early game to a taller, stronger, and year-round playing team from Georgia. Disappointed at being out of the championship round early didn’t deter them from life’s joy. They spent the rest of the day at a water park, enjoying a different kind of pool play with one another. And three of the nights we were there, the team and their families gathered for group meals. We even had a surprise birthday celebration for of one of the team moms.
How could you not help but love these kids and families who are a great bunch of people?
I ended up leaving Myrtle Beach before the championship round because I had a work conference I needed to attend in San Francisco. The Friday we were in San Francisco, our colleagues back home were participating in a community volunteer day. A co-worker and I decided that we would participate on the west coast by volunteering to feed the homeless and hungry. The organization is Glide — a radically inclusive, just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization. They feed 700 people for the afternoon meal. Volunteers help serve meals, take tickets, and clean tables.
Because Glide must have heard about my lack of prowess in the cooking department, I was in charge of handing out napkins and silverware:
What I found humbling was that the individuals were so diverse. Some “looked” homeless. Some didn’t look homeless at all. Some talked to an imaginary friend as they went through the line. Some came through the line multiple times, hanging their head in shame. Some brought their dogs and shared the meatloaf and rice with their best friend. One lady started a fight because she wanted to eat at a table by herself. The staff had to calm her down, and then they tried to make the volunteers feel better by saying it was no big deal. “You’re right,” I commented. “The Rice boys behave far worse than any of these folks.”
But almost every one of the people who walked through the door said “Thank you.” Or “God bless.” One guy even said “Hello, gorgeous.” Hmmm…maybe I should send him my picture and enter his “hottest mom” contest.
What I felt after an exhausting and fast-paced two hours was a great deal of appreciation from both those served and the staff at Glide. It took no more than a smile, a hello, and handing someone a napkin with a fork or spoon to make them feel good. How could I not love the feeling of warmth that my small kindness gave these people who have so little?
That weekend we were in San Francisco was also when the Gay Pride parade was going to take place. As I walked back from Macy’s on Sunday (having just had my own little love fest with the Michael Kors purse department), I walked past a guy with a t-shirt that very simply said Love is Love. And I saw these flags hanging outside the Hotel Nikko:
How awesome that a corporation uses the pride flag to let a group of individuals who have struggled for acceptance know that they are indeed loved?
So in the end, my week was not nearly as much about a vacation, a baseball tournament, or a work trip. It was about the love in my life, and why I should be more aware of it around me every day.