The Gift of Not Having to Say Thank You

I’ve written before about my love for the television show Supernatural. On Friday night, as I watched one of the episodes from the tenth season, an exchange of dialogue hit me.

Sam and Dean, brothers played by Jensen Ackles and Jared Padlecki, are riding in a car going to hunt down the latest monster of the week.  In the midst of a rainy drive they are discussing the events of the past few episodes, moments where Sam had gone to great lengths to save Dean.

Ackles, perfectly in character, mentions that he never said thanks for being saved.

Padelecki looks at him, pauses for a moment, and replies:

“You never have to say that.  Not to me.”

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The moment works on many levels.  From brother to brother, it says that one will always be there.  Family stands high enough to mean there isn’t a need to say thank you.  You’ll always be there, regardless.

It also means that gratitude is understood and that things will be okay.

The idea of not having to say thank you works against everything we’ve put front and center in society. We demand recognition for our efforts and our input. The ones spending their lives in service to others know and understand that this dynamic fails.

This Tuesday, in Reading, a team of volunteers will gather to serve meals to those in need in an event called Cups of Compassion. The individuals I met during this past year of book research will fill some of the spots on this team.  They spend often more than forty hours a week in the world of the poor, ill, beaten down, and distressed.

They go to work every week, go home at night, and go back to do it again in the morning.  They see their clients often fall off the wagon of sobriety and end up incarcerated, in the hospital, or in the graveyard.

These warriors, ones like Sherry Camelleri, Rob Turchi, Frank Grill, Steve Olivo, Sharon Parker, Dan Clouser and Craig Poole and the staff at United Community Services, Berks County Prison, Berks Women in Crisis, Service Access Management, Opportunity House and other shelters in the city all do what they do without the expectation of thanks.

They do it because they care.  They will always be there.  They understand the need to save and their abilities to make it reality. They change lives with selfless love that embodies this time of year.

We can follow their lead and give back, all without expectation or condition.

For the need will never go away. We must rise to fight, step to the line, and give the gift of living to serve without having to hear “thank you.”

~Matt

 

 

Feel Good Saturday-11/22/2014

At the end of a long week, I thought it would be nice to add a positive note on things by hijacking a Feel Good Friday post and moving it to Saturday:

Jason Brown  was a center for the St. Louis Rams. Brown decided to leave football behind to chase something he had never done before.  He used his contract money to purchase a thousand acres of land and start a farm.

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Brown is self-taught, relying on local sources and internet research.  His first crop yielded over 100,000 lbs of sweet potatoes, which he donated to the needy in the St. Louis area.  He intends to continue this practice with each crop that he grows. He said this effort was inspired by his faith and a calling to live a life of service.

Imagine, spending your life preparing for a career in professional sports.  You make it, sign the big contract, and walk away to answer a higher calling.  Could you walk away from $37 million dollars? How about to start something you’ve never done? Brown is a hero and his food will made a huge difference for his neighbors dealing with hunger.

“My agent told me, ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life,’” Brown told CBS. “And I looked right back at him and I said, ‘No I’m not. No I’m not.’”

This time of year, remember to be thankful for what you have and to do what you can for those who have less. It doesn’t take a farm to make a difference.  You can do it on your block and in your city. Never forget what is important.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6: 19-21

 

Soundtrack inspiration:

Feel Good Friday 9/26/2014

On a previous Feel Good Friday post I mentioned the story of Devon Still, the Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman whose 4-year-old daughter is currently fighting cancer.  She had surgery today at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. CHOP is one of the best, if not the best, hospital in the country for children and I’m sure she is in good hands.

The Bengals have sold Still’s jersey’s with all profits going to the battle against pediatric cancer. Sean Payton, head coach of the New Orleans Saints, purchased 100 jerseys on his own.  Still posted a picture on his Instagram today of flowers, a stuffed bear, and other gifts sent over by the Philadelphia Eagles and Chip Kelly.

Check out this article for Still’s pep talk delivered to his daughter on the ride to the hospital and make sure you have tissues close. As a father, it tugs at my heart and I can’t imagine what he must be feeling tonight.  We are certainly sending thoughts and prayers their way.

Greater Berks Food Bank

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The Greater Berks Food Bank distributed seven million pounds of food last year. They are in the midst of a transition to a new warehouse that will cost almost $3 million to fund. Their programs assist in over three hundred programs including a weekly presence in local schools handing out food to students and serving meals. In a city where these meals may be the only complete ones they get in a week, it is vitally important.

Requests normally come from pantries, programs, and individuals in Schuylkill and Berks Counties. They will then distribute the food they have and collect from outside organizations. The need is consistent and growing.  Last year, one in five residents in the two counties served accessed food provided from GBFB. Hunger is a real problem, not just in the city but also in the suburbs with a new class of “working poor.”

You can find their website here including facts, figures, and donation information.

Soundtrack Inspiration:

Hillsong, This I Believe.  Val’s new favorite!