Chapter 21: Serve the Right Way in the Right Place for the Right Reasons
Serve the Right Way in the Right Place for the Right Reasons
My EEG was scheduled early on a Monday morning. To make it easier, I spent Sunday night in Atlanta. After meeting with a friend, I took time in the hotel room to rest and read and write—three of my priorities in finding equilibrium in life’s rough paths. I realized it was time to eat dinner and take my anti-epileptic medication. That left me with the need to make a major decision: where should I eat? I wanted a place nearby and inexpensive.
I remembered McDonalds had started serving breakfast all day. I rarely eat meals at McDonalds, but since they added a breakfast menu for any meal, I became interested. I searched my phone for the nearest one. That caused me to make a decision—I had three selections to choose from. Those who know me would expect me to choose the closest. For an odd reason, I decided to select the one in the middle. Maybe that was an unconscious way of finding balance, some type of search for equilibrium while internally wondering what my brain’s electrical system would reveal in the morning.
I grabbed my meds and let my phone steer me to dinner. The location didn’t look like the safest, so I briefly questioned my decision—did I choose the right McDonalds? It was time for dinner and meds, so I didn’t need to change my choice. I parked and walked in, facing another decision. Would I eat inside or get the breakfast-for-dinner to go so I could work at the hotel while eating?
I would eat inside.
I needed a break, a rest, a few moments to eat in a place I had never been before. I needed to find a balanced method of processing my thoughts about the next morning’s EEG.
I began eating by the window.
And then I saw people coming toward McDonalds. Many people. Walking. Adults—not wearing nice clothes but looking very hungry. They entered, loudly. Two—a man and a woman—walked near my table. The man slammed a trash bag of stuff at a table across from me.
“I’m here by myself,” I said. “I can move to a smaller table if you guys are a group needing room to eat together.”
“No,” he mumbled. “We’re fine.”
He talked to the lady I assumed to be his wife. He told her what he wanted for dinner. She went to place their orders, standing in the long line of men and women of various colors and ages.
The man sat at the table across from me. I repeated my previous statement, wanting him to know I could move if that was best. “No,” he said again. “If I ever get to eat at McDonalds, I want to sit right here.”
His face and his voice indicated there was so much more to his story. I wanted to know his story. I wanted to know about his own life, if things were out of balance, if he was struggling in a journey through uneven surfaces.
I asked him to tell me his story.
And he did.
He told me of his previous career, of raising a family, of economic problems, of now living with his wife on the streets of Atlanta. A man and his wife in a big city. A family. A former solid vocation. Now no home. Now no money to afford their own food. One trash bag carrying all their possessions. I asked more questions. He told me more of his story—not asking for anything in return, just telling me of how their narrative became a search for some type of equilibrium. I cherished the time though my heart hurt hearing his story.
I finished my dinner breakfast and asked, “Who brought all of you here to eat?”
He gestured near the counter, pointing me toward a man.
I wanted to meet that man. I wanted to be like the man who guided a large group of homeless people and purchased dinner for them at a McDonalds near Atlanta on a Sunday evening.
Before walking out in my casual shoes and getting in my comfortable car and driving to a hotel and sleeping inside instead of on the streets and preparing for a morning EEG, I met him. I met Scott Smith.
I have often wondered what love really looks like. That night I saw it.
Love looks like Scott bringing homeless people to McDonalds for dinner.
Scott was as kind as I was nosey. I asked him what inspired a man to purchase meals for the homeless. He answered with words, but also with his heart. He turned the conversation in another direction and wanted to know about me. Scott displayed a desire to rescue a world of people living out of balance, those unable to find stability in this crazy, dangerous chronicle.
Scott reminded me how we can serve the right way in the right place at the right time for the right reasons. He reminded me why I should do what I do and how I should be the person I claim to be. His smiles among the smell of those he was serving showed me a sincere love lacking in too many places. Scott did that.
- Why do you do what you do?
- What do you love about it?
- What brings you the most stress?
- What are you doing with your hurt?
- If you left your present vocation and location, what hurts might you carry with you?
- If you stay, how can you serve as a shining light to those around you?