I have been running at full hilt this week, even though classes aren't in session. And my to do list is still really long--I don't even have a lecture ready for Monday OR a lab written for Tuesday afternoon (that needs to be passed out during Monday class). Not to mention two lab manuals to write, a huge stack of grading and a bunch of other stuff that's coming with me to Thanksgiving.
So I was REALLY tempted this afternoon to bail on a commitment to serve a colleague.
But I didn't. And I was blessed.
One of the retired members of our department (yes, it's the same guy as this story) had back surgery almost two weeks ago. His wife died last spring, and he has no family. So while he's very independent minded, he's relying on friends and colleagues to help him do the things he can't--like drive, carry the laundry basket downstairs, etc. He's working on being able to walk the mile into and home from the office so he can have a little more interaction with people, so walking him to the track is also on the list.
I've been organizing people to help him, but have had a fairly dismal response. So I had agreed to cover today. One of the other retired professors who has been doing a lot of caretaking stopped by my office late this morning...and I almost begged off...at least the walking. John agreed to meet us at the track and he would deliver his paper to him and walk, and I'd work. But as I worked through lunch, things came together on that project fairly nicely, and I was convicted of my need to do what I said I would.
We had agreed on 1 pm, so I worked through lunch and arrived promptly. We walked 10 laps at the gym, turned in some recycling, picked up some groceries, unloaded the groceries, helped with laundry, and chatted with him the whole while.
He's lonely. He doesn't know God, and is resistant to the idea of God even existing. But somewhere in him is a God sized hole. And if he can see something different in me, even if it's just a willingess to give up two hours of my day, and wonder why I do it...it's worth it.
Then tonight after dinner, I took the kids to help set up for the Community Thanksgiving. That was fun too!
So today I'm thankful for opportunities to serve.