Over the holidays, we’ve made time to make sure we drive home the reason for the season with Helen Grace. She remembered going to the nursing home with Lawson last year and wanted to go back to ‘make the old people happy.’ They had a big time this year again (and Rowan came too!) and enjoyed seeking out people that they could give candy to, even filling some mailboxes with Hershey Kisses.
Also, I really thought she was old enough to grasp (and needed the reality check to see) the extreme poverty that surrounds us by volunteering at a homeless shelter. We served dinner at Memphis Union Mission on a Friday Family Night with the Eldreds, Words, and GD and Spiffer.
We were all impressed at the organization and efficiency of the shelter’s management, and we were happy with the amount of interaction and age-appropriate tasks. Lawson and HG filled water cups, and Sallie Key put desserts on each tray. They’d trade out tasks when they got bored, and when we didn’t need any more cups, HG enjoyed greeting each man with ‘Merry Christmas!’ A few wouldn’t respond or acknowledge her which confused her at first but she let it roll off her back, but most of them lit up when they realized she was talking to them and responded with a big smile and ‘Merry Christmas’ back to her. She just glowed with happiness.
While we stood there serving, she turned to me and said, “My teacher said that having the Christmas spirit means giving instead of having. That’s what we are doing here- giving.”
My heart almost exploded. Mission accomplished.