Do you ever feel like you want to do something but you dont know what to do? Something meaningful? Something interesting? In the Northwest, I'd get this feeling and I'd head out for a hike. We used to hike almost every weekend. In Nashville there are beautiful parks with trails but they pale in comparison. So, I haven't done much hiking and now we live in the middle of the city. A city filled with need. We see some interesting characters walking around this city and that sparks an urge to do something, too. There are about 4,000 homeless individuals in Nashville but I'd bet that there are tens of thousands more who are down-and-out, living off minimum wage or squeaking by on food stamps.
Liam has never met a stranger. He wants to meet just about everyone he sees. So, I thought that an appropriate way to reach our community and relieve the itch to do something was to take treats out into the community around us. I like to bake but I dont like to eat what I bake. A morsel, yes. But several dozen cookies have no place in my kitchen unless I'm about to have a party. Liam also loves to bake!
At first I thought we'd sit on the stoop of our building with a little box of cookies and offer them to anyone who walked by but we both got too antsy to wait. There was a man on a smoke break across the street and Liam started shouting, "Wanna cookie?" across three lanes of traffic. I pulled my pregnant butt off the stoop and waddled across the street with the cookies. The man didn't want a cookie but his co-workers son did. It brought us so much joy to give one away. Then we walked a bit further and met Molly. She was a friendly lady from Montana. She and her friend took two cookies each. I think she was homeless and she was most certainly a meth user. She gave Liam a black balloon and it made his day and she was so grateful for the cookies.
We met about 7 more people on our trip around the block. None of them wanted a cookie. A few were unimpressed by our cookies but I think we brought joy to most of them. The conversations I had with Liam tonight were amazing. Something as easy as an afternoon of baking cookies and taking a walk to meet our "neighbors" taught him (and me!) a thing or two about thinking of other people.
This idea was not my own. I first read about this about 4 years ago on Carina's blog. She called it Bakin it to the Streets. I'm not sure if she's still doing it but I haven't forgotten it. I'm finally in a place - literally, spiritually and emotionally - where I can start. Even though I'm 2.5 weeks from my due date, I can still bake cookies or buy donuts and give them out to someone who needs a little attention. And I'm teaching my son that life's not about serving ourselves and that we have a joy that we must share.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in...
I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me. - Matthew 25: 35 & 40