thoughts on service

I don’t know about you-all, but I have a lot of sick people in my life right now. A couple of my tennis-club girlfriends are having serious issues affecting their ability to play–these being women in their 30’s and 40’s–like ovarian cancer and blurry vision suspected to be a brain tumor. Another of my good friends had brain surgery a few weeks ago for an aneurysm, and was told that her veins look 70 years old. I could go on, but suffice it to say that I seem to be surrounded by folks getting cancer, thyroid problems, gout, and many other issues.

This weighs heavily on me. In my community, people know each other well because most (far more than 75%) belong to the same church, so either we go to church together, or we know the few who don’t. My church, world-wide, has a well-run system to make sure that no one is without a regular visitor to check up on them and help meet their needs. There are welfare systems in place for those who hit hard times, and if you are ill, WATCH OUT–the women’s organization will be all over you with loads of casseroles, treats, and all manner of food items!

I watched my girlfriend who has a 16-inch scar on her head (and her really long, curly hair gone now but growing in beautifully already). She and her husband are very well known in the community. He is a rather famous local recording artist, and she is one of the kindest, service-oriented people I know.

So people wanted to help. Every time I’m at their house since her recovery I see things that I know she does not want to eat. LOTS of homemade “stardard American diet.” She loves plant food, would be vegetarian except for (1) her love of occasional shrimp, and (2) the fact that her husband likes his meat and she likes to oblige.

In this community, you can find yourself wondering what you could do to help–with so many others lovin’ this family up. (I’m on a list to babysit their youngest child, but they never take me up on it . . .)

Well, my way to help when someone has surgery, or is bedridden, is GREEN SMOOTHIES. It’s unique and it’s appreciated more than another plate of “goodies.” However much they want–a pint a day, or a quart. Sometimes the spouse wants some, too. I’ve had a wonderful experience with helping people in this way. Even if they aren’t interested in nutrition, they seem to always appreciate the smoothies and always want to give me feedback about how much better they feel, drinking them. Sometimes they keep the habit up, themselves, after they recover.

I also get the sense that of all the food that pours into my girlfriend’s house (the one with the aneurysm), they appreciate and anticipate green smoothies more. Very frankly, the last thing people need when they are SICK is more of the food that helped get them that way. You’re never more motivated to make lifestyle changes than when you’re ill.

This isn’t to criticize the way so many show love with food, because the givers’ hearts are in the right place. Once I read a rant by an extremely overweight person about how she wished people would not give her chocolate and other junk food for various occasions requiring gifts. She called it “abuse.” Is it abuse to give an obese person a box of chocolates?

I’ll leave that question hanging out there. Fact is, all I want to say is that if you make green smoothies every day for yourself, you already understand something most people don’t. You’ve learned the “highest and best use” of your kitchen time. When your life allows it, double that and take some to someone else you know would benefit. (If you’re shy, ask them first. Or just take them a pint. Explain why you think it might benefit them.)

It’s a gift of your time and energy (and it isn’t free, of course). But as people are wringing their hands right now about flu and H1N1, you can do something during the winter and holidays to HELP instead of hurt their health. It’s pretty easy and people are SO grateful.

I’d love to hear your story about taking GS to folks who are suffering with health problems to give others ideas and motivation. Or maybe you’re a recipient of that service?

My dear friend Laura converted to GS a couple years ago and has taken them to a woman who is wheelchair bound and blind from a degenerative disease. Her ability to swallow is severely impaired. She is such a blessing to her friend. How about you?