I must admit, my life has been anything but ordinary. And, as I stared up at the spectacular architecture of that magnificent church I was grateful for the unexpected twists and turns that led me to that spot today. In the pews directly in front of me sat hundreds of homeless individuals--of every color, shape and size--listening intently to what my new coworker Tom was sharing with them. I noticed several who used that time to sleep...most likely grateful for the cool comfort of air conditioning on an extremely brutal Tennessee summer day. Just days ago, I would not have pictured myself here--sitting cross-legged at an event for the homeless--but my heart was clearly at home there.
As the new event planner/volunteer coordinator for The Contributor--a street newspaper in Nashville founded to help shed light on poverty and homelessness as well as provide an avenue for income for the homeless--I was trying to take it all in...absorbing every detail of this day from the colors of the stained glass to the smile on the face of one of the ladies in attendance. The staff had been so welcoming, revealing through mile-wide grins that they had felt the same feeling of certainty about me as I had about them following the interview. They seemed genuinely relieved to have me there... a refreshing feeling, indeed.
Just then, it was announced that every person there would be receiving a new pair of shoes from the organization Soles4Souls. The reaction was something I will never forget. Cheers, applause, hugs and even a few tears made it feel more like Christmas morning than the last Wednesday of July. A tear rolled down my cheek as I watched the celebration over a simple pair of shoes-- an object that I have far too many of in my own closet. It was moving, humbling and a much needed reminder of just how blessed I am.
I'm sure this will not be the last time I have this sort of revelation while working for this organization. I realized today that the sudden gear shifts of life are just that--shifts. I was comfortable and stable doing a job for a client I have been with for years and then the CEO unexpectedly dies. The new CEO replaces me with someone local and it feels like a kick in the stomach. Fear and doubt and uncertainty suddenly become a swirling concoction that occupy my every thought.
My experience today was more than just a first day on the job. It was a renewing of sorts. It was proof that no matter what curveballs life throws our way, somewhere there is a stained glass window with a sun ray pouring in, a new team member greeting you with squeals of excitement and the smile on the face of a lady for whom a new pair of shoes is a winning million dollar lottery ticket.
Thank you Oh Unpredictability of Life. You keep me on my toes and I wouldn't have it any other way.