Kathleen Stephan, PR-B Family Center Volunteer
Have you ever had one of those conversations - like the game telephone - when you start with one subject and end on an entirely different subject? We started with hammock, went to how we've slept camping, to how soldiers used to sleep, to questioning how Army soldiers now sleep and then to online research. Although we did not find an answer to our question, we did find a list of the Army's six recommendations for a more restful night. No. 4 struck me as applicable to everyday life as well. It states: "Get comfortable with being uncomfortable."
When I was a kid, my mom always put the good stuff (cookies, candy) high in the cupboard out of reach of her eight little goblins. It was a big "no, no" to even try to get them down. I had to baby-sit to have the money for the candy or treats I wanted. When I have had things in life (like a job or a car) that were beyond my reach, I had to find a way to make them within my reach. I took college courses to be eligible for the job I wanted. I had to save money for the car I wanted.
Winter brings cold and snow. What is it good for? My bones say NOTHING! But I know it gives the earth moisture and lets nature rest. We experience many winters in our lives - times when we are stuck in a cold, dark place where we cannot find how to break the ground for change. The spring of hope is not within our reach. We can linger there hopelessly or find a way out. We need to look for the tools to break free. Often times it involves making a change in a new direction or finding the resources needed to remedy the situation.
Vivian came in to volunteer for a shift at the Pine River Area Food Shelf. The team included Olive, Larry, Unice and Nancy. They set out the bread, stocked the shelves and started up the computer. She sits ready to greet the first client, Tina. Her husband is disabled, and she needs help to feed her family of four. Earl is a senior veteran whose disability check is not enough to cover medications and food. Their next client, Eileen, is hesitant because this is her first time here. She is greeted warmly and reassured she is not alone.
Every Thanksgiving a cornucopia was set on our sideboard. Some call it a horn of plenty. Webster defines it as "a curved, hollow goat's horn or similarly shaped receptacle (such as horn-shaped basket) that is overflowing especially with fruits and vegetables." The legend (according to Greek mythology) is that it was from this horn that the god Zeus was fed as an infant. It represents a store of abundance.
Faith: 1. Belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of someone or something. 2. Loyalty or Allegiance. (Webster's II Dictionary) This definition defines the attitude of our volunteers. They believe their work has intrinsic value to the mission of the Pine River Area Food Shelf, value to the clients we serve and value to the community we serve. Knowing there is value in their work is knowing they are making a difference.
What is coming up Monday? We are to experience a solar eclipse. The last one was in 1918. I am going to don my glasses and add this to my "stories of life" list for my grandchildren. The solar eclipses we face in life, unfortunately, happen more often. Your life is "rainbows, lollipops and sunshine everywhere." Then suddenly - kaboom - your life is turned upside down by a tragedy. We want our sunshine back but cannot find a path to it. It is not usually one thing but a domino effect with many other tragedies piled on top.
I'm surprised by how many people do not believe food insecurity (FI) is a real issue in our quaint little village. Cass County is rated among the highest in FI in our state. I read an article in "Science Daily" that reported: "It's a complex phenomenon encompassing food availability, affordability, utilization and even the social norms that define acceptable ways to acquire food. FI can affect people's health beyond its impact on nutrition. ... FI was associated with poorer mental health and specific psychosocial stressors ... independent of socioeconomic status."
From infancy to adulthood, we are pushed to become the best person we can be. First the push is from parents-teachers-preachers, then when we "grow up" the push comes from an internal source. And if our job was to be the best rock we can be, that would be a piece of cake. Rain or shine, we can roll left or right and remain true to our calling. Once a rock; always a rock.
"Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of that do the things no one can imagine." - "The Imitation Game" Ryan Nelson reposted this quote this month. My first thought was of smalltown neighbors. Pretty much everyone is treated on the same level. Anyone who used to "be someone" receives no special regard. We are all the same.