The following was written by a teenager from First Pres Bainbridge and needs to be shared.
Laws of Life
by Holly Barber, 12th grade BHS winner
Character Trait: Thankfulness
“Have a Blessed Day!”
The words “thank you” are words we hear and say every day. We say them when a gentleman holds the door open, or when we receive presents on our birthday. These acts are often unappreciated; saying thank you is just one of the routine mannerisms that parents teach their children. Last February, I had the pleasure of meeting several children and adults who truly knew the meaning of the words “thank you.”
One cold Saturday last February, my church’s youth group crawled out of our warm beds early in the morning, piled in the church van, and drove to a Presbyterian church in Albany, where we were able to experience volunteering in a soup kitchen. Members of the community gathered and showed us the basics for preparing the meals.
After hours of hard work over stoves and ovens, we finally put together over 100 Styrofoam boxes filled with barbeque sandwiches, spoonsful of baked beans, cups of coleslaw, and peanut butter cookies. Our youth group carried the boxes to a table set up outside the church. There were already dozens of people: men, women, and children, waiting in line for a hot meal. For some, this would be their only true meal for the day. After serving person after person, we started complaining. “I’m cold,” “my feet are tired,” and “I burnt my hand,” were phrases that were often heard. But toward the end of the line, there was one man who changed our outlook on the situation.
Most of the people receiving the plates looked the same. They looked dirty. The women were wearing grungy, ripped clothing. The children all had the look of hunger on their faces. The men had long, matted beards. But while they all looked basically the same, this man had a feature that the others did not. He had a huge smile on his face. Not only did he smile, but when he was given his plate of food, I could tell that he wasn’t just going through the motions of saying thank you; he truly meant what he said. When I handed him his plate he set it down and grabbed my hand for a moment. He smiled and said, “Thank you so much. Have a blessed day!” I could see that this man was genuinely grateful for his meal and the hands that prepared it.
Seeing how little this man had made me wonder why he was so thankful. He had no home and no job. Why was he telling ME to have a blessed day? But when I continued thinking about what he said, I knew the answer. He was alive and well, and that alone is enough to be grateful for. This man helped me to realize the important things in life, such as family and friends, caring for others, and appreciating what you’ve been given.
I am grateful that this man came through the food line that day and shook my hand. He not only changed my attitude for feeding the homeless, but he also changed my outlook on life.