Photo credit: Chicken Run (2000) Aardman Animations
Yes. You read that headline correctly. Keep reading and you’ll soon discover why.
Recently, I brought my lunch to a daylong event. I like to pack meals on the go because often, there are few healthy options nearby. At lunchtime, I went to make my salad but the chicken smelled funny. You know that pungent aroma that makes you smell it twice just to convince yourself it can’t be possibly used. Yuck. It was rotten and had to be tossed. I was pretty disappointed but seeing that my other option was food poisoning and extended fetal positioning, I trekked over to a nearby Farmer Boys and ordered a chef salad (my fave!). I’ve had it before and it’s enough for two meals so I figured I would have the leftovers for dinner. Well, as it turned out, I didn’t want another serving of rabbit food after all, so I reserved it for my next lunch. The next day, I polished it off, but my not-fond-of-salad guy friend said, “You’ll be hungry in 30 minutes.” Confidently, I retorted, “I’ll be fine. I’ll have a snack around 3:00 pm.”
I didn’t have time for my nutty, raisin snacks and was starving by the time I left, mainly because during round one I had eaten all of the “good stuff” in my salad and what was left were a few lettuce leaves and honey-mustard dressing. With just a yogurt for breakfast, I was bordering on hangry, (hungry + angry = “hangry” for those who don’t know) and I had definitely not planned on fasting that day either.
Horrors! I had forgotten to take a snack pack with me! “I know I’m not gonna make it home,” I said to myself. “It’s after five, the freeway is a parking lot and the only option is a Wendy’s and another fast food restaurant.” So, I headed over to Wendy’s. While pulling up to the drive-thru, I saw an elderly man who was also clearly homeless. I shouted out, “Hey Mister, are you hungry? Can I get you anything?” He nodded “yes” and said he would like a cheeseburger. I didn’t have much cash on me but I had enough to get him a large burger and a snack to tie me over until I got home. To be honest, I really wanted the big cheeseburger for myself and thought he could have the snack size instead. But then I remembered… I had food waiting to be cooked when I got home. Shoot. I had a home to actually call my residence. Perspective and gratitude made the decision easy. I handed him the big burger along with a little money, talked to him a bit, and headed home.
My point is this. The rotten chicken set in motion a small chain of events within a 24 hour period of time that neither of us could have anticipated. If it hadn’t been for the rotten chicken, I would have never made it to Wendy ‘s, which was the Divine purpose of this whole scenario: To feed a hungry, lonely, forgotten and often ignored soul and re-validate his neglected humanity with kindness, a brief conversation and eye contact. We both took a moment to pause for the mutual benefit of a compassionate connection.
The “Season of Giving” never goes out of season. We are so project, metric, KPI and deadline driven, often at the expense of slowing down long enough to extend kindness to others. Yet sometimes, the most mundane and seemingly annoying of occurrences and disturbances will cause us to deviate from our usual routine and into an unexpected Divine redirect to remind us of our own humanity and the humanity of those around us. The next time that happens, go ahead and flow with it. We just may be led into a purpose greater than ourselves.
See you at the top!
♛ Melanie Grace
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