Alright, so this story is more on a personal note here. This past Thanksgiving I got to be a part of something that mattered. My dad works for Lindon City and likes to keep our family up-to-date and involved. No, there isn’t always something super exciting going on in the little city of Lindon, believe it or not…I know that is hard to believe ;). However, the news I got about an upcoming Lindon City Thanksgiving dinner was in fact new, different, and exciting. To be honest, I looked forward to finally spending my day doing what I considered to be service for my community. I think we all hear about these types of opportunities and secretly wish we were a part of them. The only problem is becoming a part of these events might take some effort on our part. I was lucky enough to be simply placed in the situation and given the opportunity to experience this. Thanks dadders.
To answer your question and probable assumption right now, no, this is absolutely not a do-gooder post gloating about how wonderful I am. In fact, this is just the opposite. I was able to be thrown into a situation that was so beautiful and powerful that I realized how incredible people around us are. The mayor of Lindon City is adamant about this Thanksgiving dinner that he started last year for the community. Of course he received the backing of city staff, contributors, and community members, but he did not received all support. Some people felt it was a great idea but wasn’t practical. “Too many people, tax dollars, and effort,” was what most non-supporters were thinking. What people didn’t realize was that the mayor found sponsors for the event–no tax dollars would be used. Now the enormous amount of effort necessary for this to happen part? This absolutely was true.
I’m not sure if you think the way that I do or not, but logically this project the mayor wanted to do is absolutely a large commitment and work load. This didn’t stop him though. The passion he and his followers had for the project was enough to put the plan into action. Passion about something can move mountains, let it.
My family and I were given the opportunity to be on the ‘food preparation’ crew for the event. We arrived at 8 a.m. to start our work mashing hundreds of pounds of potatoes, sweet-potatoes, jell-o, and the sorts. I was proud of my 36 boxes of good ol’ Stouffers stuffing that I made. However, what I was more proud of was the elderly man next to me beating the soften potatoes into a creamy mixture endlessly. I’m pretty sure he stayed there shaking the bowl back-and-forth with his wabbly hands for at least and hour and a 1/2 to finish in time for the dinner.
I was also proud and touched by really all of the other 175 volunteers that came in, young and old. Everyone was slaving in the two kitchens and running around frantically, yet orderly, to do their part. Laughter was the sound that filled the refurnished city center and turkey was the smell of the building. I walked into the gymnasium where the actual dinner portion of the event was being held and honestly teared up. I was overwhelmed with the effort put in by these people out of the goodness of their heart to create such a beautiful setting for everyone that came. Live Christmas music filled the sound and I couldn’t believe what good hearts these people I was surrounded by had. This to me was inspiring. I was even impressed with the way that the 500 utensils were hand-wrapped with ribbons and each person at the dinner was hand-served. These people could have just cooked the dinner 1/2 heartedly, developed a serving line system, used paper plates, and left the gym undecorated, but they didn’t. Each detail was intricately attended to. The passion they had for people was enough to make sure everything was perfect. A job worth doing is worth doing well.
I felt an overwhelming amount gratitude and admiration of the entire production. These people are inspiring. The day and work wasn’t even about service, it was about being together and a part of something. I think this was one of those principles that I missed on–I thought I was going to just give service and feel good about it, so naive. But what actually happened was that I realized that we are all human. Everyone needs to feel love and a part of something. I also realized how important it is to develop our own passions and take the time to go after something wholeheartedly. If we do this, the results we can produce will be beyond our wildest dreams.