The queue for our Christmas Dinner had dissipated and gone from a line up Lisgar to Elgin and around the corner, to a few stragglers who heard about the turkey dinner from a friend and rushed to get in line before it was too late.
I went inside. I had to do something with the ‘load of thanks’ I had received from our guests in line.
I called the volunteers to come together for a story, and told them this:
In our culture it is common for us (pre Covid at least) to repay people with kindness for the kindness they have shown to us. For example, most folks remember who invited them over for dinner, and look for opportunity to repay by inviting the same people back to their home for dinner, to return the blessing.
You know, you kind of keep inventory: we really can’t have the Jones family over for dinner until we repay the Smith family who invited us over to their place just last month. That kind of thing.
At the conclusion of the evening, we say thank you for having us over. It’s all good.
On the street however, and at the queue outside in particular we are giving to people who cannot repay. They can’t invite us over for turkey dinner. They can’t take us on an outing or give us any kind of gift. All they can do, really, is say, “Thank you.”
(Then I told the group about what happened outside within the past two hours – see last week’s blog, “Christmas Dinner Part 1”).
People who are street-engaged cannot repay. They cannot. All they can offer is a “Thank you.”
And that “Thank you” carries, I think, a much more significant weight than the thank you from your host friend who has invited you for dinner, and to whom you will (of course) repay the kindness.
“Thank you” is all they can give. It is powerful. It is real. It is loaded with meaning.
Right now, right here, I am forwarding this heavy, loaded, filled-with-deep-meaning “Thank you” to you.
Thank you for your support, your prayers, your encouragement and your sacrifices.
~Ken, Executive Director