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One of the newer clients on my Meals on Wheels route is QUITE the character. I’ve actually delivered to his physical address for longer than I have known him, but I’ve learned not to question the changes that arise on my route. This particular locale is a senior living complex, so clients come and go for reasons even the most optimistic person must accept. I care about them while they are in my life; I pray for them and their families when their name disappears. I’m fortunate that this man is far more congenial than his predecessors, although I’m never quite sure what I’m going to get. Some days he is more alert than others. Some days he hides behind the door because he isn’t wearing pants.


On Friday, I was wearing my Brave Kind t-shirt because it’s comfortable, for one, and because my volunteer work really is at the root of my message. “I love that shirt,” he said as he answered the door (fully clothed). “Courage and compassion,” he read from the tag line, “those are great ideas!”. I don’t know that I’ve ever smiled so big. “I like to think so!” I replied. He tried to pay me, more confused than usual as to why I was delivering food, and I assured him that his son took care of his weekly donation. Then he winked and asked when his date would be arriving, so I just walked away laughing and shaking my head.

This past week marked my two year anniversary volunteering for Meals on Wheels. I was reminded through social media, my orientation attendance marked by a check-in. I still remember that day clearly: the smell of the new building, the slight flutter of nerves as I checked in at the front desk. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting myself into and if I would be willing to uphold the commitment. What I did know was that I had managed to stay sober one day at a time for nearly 90 days, and that service was an unmistakable key tenet if I was to stay that way.


The headquarters of MOWI Tarrant County were new at the time, the clean floors shimmering from the sun pouring in through the floor-to-ceiling windows. We toured the kitchen area, an impressive maze of stainless steel that would make Gordon Ramsey swoon. We moved on to the garage area, logoed vans lined up at each bay with giant smiling client faces adorning the sides. The vans, as I’ve learned, scatter across the metroplex to each individual dropsite to leave the daily meals, all 5200 of them. We returned to the main meeting room where volunteer coordinators were waiting to match us up with a route. I was assigned to one near my house and the rest, as they say, is history.

I like recognizing the intersections of bravery and kindness and my volunteer service is a shining example of that. The courageous act of attending orientation and making the weekly commitment was something I’d failed at so many times before. The intent was there, but not the follow-through. The compassion it takes to patiently wait each week as my clients shuffle to the door is a quality that wells up from deep inside. It starts from a place forged by grandmotherly bonds, treasuring both the one who kept us all fed and one who received meal delivery herself. I meditated Friday morning for the Universe to continue to show me my “true purpose”. It didn’t take long. I found it a few hours later when I grabbed my blue bags.


”Unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant pages in the biography of souls.” –David Thomas


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