I went on an adventure today, although it was of a different sort than what most people would call adventure. I volunteered for a few hours in a church welfare cannery.
It was Peaches Day and so I got to get up close and personal with probably hundreds, if not thousands, of juicy, fragrant peaches. I stood in one spot for three hours making sure the peaches that were about ready to get put into cans did not have any rotten parts. Who wants to open up a can of fruit with grotesque brown nast on any of it, right? So anyways, I took my job seriously.
For the first hour I was energetic, enjoying the delicious smelling aroma surrounding me (I adore canned peaches by the way). I commented to my work neighbor about how this was making me want to bust open a can of peaches for dinner when I got home.
The second hour was a different story. The noise in the room was constantly loud and it was grating on me to stand in one place without talking with so much dull loudness surrounding me. So that is when I started singing. I figured it was so loud that no one would hear me if they didn't want to and I was going to go bonkers if I didn't start doing something to change things up. And that is also when my taste changed. Chinese food sounded like a much better pick than peaches now.
Midst the third hour, I began to dream of steak. Who could possibly stomach any sort of fruit or vegetable anything after physically handling so much of the stuff? Not even those itty bits of veggies found in fried rice could be permissible at this point. Also, I began to run out of songs to sing. I resorted to repeating a few of my favorites, but it just wasn't quite as invigorating as when I first began. When I was just about to give up, the lady next to me said we only had fifteen minutes left and I let out an audible WooHoo! Yeah! and started singing with much more zeal clear until we finished up.
The experience made me realize a few things. First, I am soft. How did/do people work for eight or ten-hour shifts at any factory? Standing in one spot with so much noise that isn't even conversation can drive one batty. Second, I feel more grateful for the food I have to eat. This food is for distribution to the needy and I have been a recipient of such gifts at times. Getting to see the care taken to prepare everything showed me what it takes to feed others. Third, it really made me happy to give a few hours of service. As our society seems to get more and more egocentric, I believe it does individuals a great deal of good to serve others. It can get us outside of ourselves for that time. Additionally, as we spend more and more time serving we get less comfortable with the selfishness pervading our little worlds.
I hope we might all take some time to give back to our communities on a regular basis. Serve at a food bank, shelter, or wherever you can--even lending a hand to a neighbor who needs some help can make a world of difference.