A Compassion Cell in Los Angeles on March 4th
Things just work out sometimes. On Saturday, we were serving lunch to 60 women at the Women’s Homeless Shelter in Los Angeles. On Friday, volunteers were coming over to prepare the lunches. On Wednesday, we had no idea where the supplies were coming from.
Wednesday afternoon, my good friend Nirali came over and asked about the supplies. Having no idea how it would work out, but knowing quite well that whatever needed to happen would happen, we decided to sit on it.
After sitting in silence for one hour we opened the front door and on the table outside we found 25 loafs of bread, just sitting there, waiting.
To this day, we do not know who left them. Not even the neighbors saw who had dropped them off.
What is powerful about this story is how the good intentions of this secret do-gooder have rippled out into so many people. I shared the bread story with another friend and she instantaneous asked me to come to her office. When I arrived she handed me a check for $100 saying that she wanted to be a part of this holy bread. Another friend said the bread had literally dropped from heaven :)
Hours later we were at a grocery store shopping for the remaining supplies and volunteers were literally fighting over the shopping bill.
I shared all of this with our tax accountant, and he too was baffled. He now considers us the anti-thesis of every organization he has ever come into contact with. Most organizations fight to keep money coming in. An anonymous gift of bread is forcing us to give more away.
The ripple effect of this one person’s generosity continues to expand every time this story is shared. I can’t imagine the goodness that this one person carried in their heart to have their one simple action touch so many people. It is impacting me again, as I am writing this.
Friday night came, we celebrated the bread and all the goodness that surrounded it. As we chopped up vegetables and sliced onions, there was joy in the room. The dance of receiving and giving overwhelmed us completely.
Saturday afternoon, we finally served lunch to the women of the shelter. They were grateful to have had a nutritious meal, we were grateful to have had the opportunity to serve. The magic of service became a part of us all.
As my friend, Nirali, sat down to share a meal with the residents of the shelter, she was taken back by the hostility of one of the women. Living on the streets can impact people in many ways. Sometimes it seems like a systematic break down of one own human-ness. I guess Nirali did the only thing she could, remain human. After a few moments, the woman actually thanked Nirali for what she was doing, and expressed that the world needed more people like Nirali out there. Maybe goodness exists in everyone, or maybe it was just the bread talking.
There’s something…I think it was even written in the bible…something that mentions…when 2 or more come in the name of…and I substitute this with…service, good, love…all things positive. Even in protests, many people arrive, and in some small way, a difference is made…there’s some power to the people that isn’t about the people but about the mass amount of people wanting to make a difference and to harvest change.
The night before our trip to LA to be with these women in Downtown LA, I was extremely impacted by the way the evening just flowed at a volunteer’s home. We started to prepare vegetables for the day following…and some volunteers went out to get some ingredients for salad dressing. When they returned, we were all sitting in a circle, drumming…and from there, drumming games surfaced, along with dancing to Indian music and anything with a beat. It was one of those nights…where u just felt joy overtake you and the drum was beating on…and we couldn’t all help but participate. It reminded me of a scene from this movie called, “Fame”. There was a tv show based on this movie. The movie is better! There’s a scene where all the kids in the cafeteria…well, one student starts thumping his hand on table, someone else bangs spoon on tin bowl and before you know it, there’s a cacophony of sounds…interrupting the quiet lunches of others but also adding..with such creativity, flavor to the silence. There’s a time for silence and a time for music and movement. This night warmed my heart and spirit splendidly and it just made me smile from within a sacred space of the originality and spontanaeity experienced that night. Yay for us!