As I turned into the parking lot, I heard a thumping sound coming from the trunk. It must be a can of black beans--or maybe tomatoes--rolling around. I drove slowly so the rolling would stop and pulled up to the building with the loading dock.
Opening the trunk, I grabbed the loose can of beans and several grocery bags and walked to the door next to the dock. An older man greeted me with a smile, took the food, and came out to help me get the rest. I learned that he's retired, he volunteers here regularly, and his name is Henry.
"Have you gotten many donations this week?" I ask.
"It's picking up," Henry said. "The holidays will be here soon."
By then we were back inside the building, and I looked around the large room. A couple of volunteers were shelving cans, another was putting milk jugs into a refrigerator, and someone else was organizing loaves of bread.
Every time I visit the local food pantry, I walk in and out with a lump in my throat. People in my community—people everywhere—are hungry. Little children have tummies that rumble. Parents wonder where their next meal will come from. It stuns and humbles me to think that it might come from my trunk.
My heart goes out to them.
Henry thanked me as he took the last bag from my hand. Clearing my throat, I said goodbye and went back outside toward my car. Something sitting by the wall caught my eye. It was a bucket filled with several bouquets of flowers.
Flowers. I laughed a little and teared up a lot.
Someone very perceptive understood that, along with food for empty bellies, families who are going through lean times might want a little beauty for their table. They might need a reminder of happier days or some encouragement that things will get better.
Or maybe they’d just like a chance to make their meal special for their family. Like any of us would.
Food for the body, beauty for the spirit.
Back in my car, I said a prayer of thanks. Whoever gave that gift of beauty for those families that day gave me one too.
Have you ever been surprised by unexpected beauty? Do you think beauty can make a difference in the life of someone who’s going through a hard time? Why or why not? Leave a comment below and let me know.
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