Years ago I was asked to take a meal to a family when their mother was having health problems. I was at work when the call came so I said I would get it over to them a little later than usual since my commute was about 45 minutes. No problem they said, the dad would be at home while she was resting and the kids wouldn't get home from school and their practices until later anyway.
I was told they had 4 kids but were all older and didn't know if they'd be home for dinner, but just in case, make enough for everyone.
I am always worried about meals like that because I can never judge how much to make of something. I guess I'm just used to the birds that eat in my nest. So, I doubled what we were having plus a little extra for them.
I hurriedly made my way to their house and when I drove up, I noticed there were many cars in the drive-way. I walked up behind a girl who was chatting on her cell phone and then another person walked up behind me who I assumed was a boyfriend of one of the girls.
As I entered, the father was standing in the kitchen with some teen children and others were lying on the couch watching the big screen TV.
I was a bit embarrassed because I really felt that I hadn't made enough but I also hoped that the thoughts in my head were not translating to a look on my face: Really? None of you knew where the kitchen was in this house?? All those kids, all those cars, and you couldn't get to the drive thru? And with the dad home all day too - did his hands suddenly stop working?? were some of my thoughts.
As quickly as I thought it, I knew I was wrong. Completely.
It wasn't my place to decide who receives service from others or what situation warrants that service. No one should withhold service from another or do it begrudgingly. I always disagreed with people that did so or were of that mindset and here I was falling into their category.
I was responding to a request and it was my job to do it happily. I thought about it and decided the act of service that day was for me, not them. I'm sure they were completely capable of making a meal - probably a better one, but just needed a mental break from thinking about it. Maybe they had been eating out every night during this health scare and just wanted a home cooked meal in-between the flurry of other activities. Maybe that while on the outside they appeared very capable, they just needed to know they mattered. Maybe they said no to the offer but relented thinking that whomever was called to serve needed the blessings more than they. And as it turned out, they were the ones who helped me.
So at risk of sounding preachy, let me just say don't make my mistake. At this time of Thanksgiving and holidays that naturally turn us to be more giving, let's be ready and willing to show kindness to those around us, to be of service in whatever way possible, whether or not we think they need it.
I mean, who doesn't need it?