Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Starting off the year on the right foot

Not that I have anything against left feet but I wanted to start off 2007 with some good karma on my side. Over the past couple of years my family has either ended the year or started the year by serving dinner to women at an emergency shelter. This year, due to some unavoidable circumstances, I ended up serving brunch on New Year's Day with a work colleague. It was a different kind of experience in several ways, primarily because my family was not with me. But it was still a good experience and it was certainly interesting to see my colleague’s reaction to this type of environment.

Two women in particular were a sight to see. One must surely have been in her 50’s but was made up and dressed like an 18-year old punk rocker, complete with shaved and dyed hot pink hair, piercings in her ears, eyebrows, cheek, lips, nose. The other was perhaps the same age, but more "normally" dressed. She was however covered in bruises, had two black eyes and huge bruise marks on her arms. There were two, if not three other women who seemed to be going through some withdrawal symptoms and from my limited knowledge of addicts, looked very much as I would expect an addict to look.

But what I take away from these couple of hours is more than just some random anecdotal quips. We served approximately 30 women on Jan. 1. These are women, all of them, had no other place to go on New Year’s Day. I was there by choice. Each of these women was pleased to be served, smiled – despite their less than fortunate circumstances, wished me a happy new year and said thank you. This alone makes my measly 2 hours of service worth more than anything. Some of the women even came back up to the counter to wish us a happy new year before leaving the cafeteria. I don’t know on what other occasion people have been so thankful for so little.

I feel privileged to be able to give back a little something in my own community.

1 comment:

Why said...

If I lived in Montreal, I would have joined you. Sounds like a meaningful way to start off the New Year.