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  • The organization I volunteer for, when I pick up donated food from supermarkets out west – (now averaging 800-900 pounds of picked up food each week!) – held a big fundraiser gala auction at a big hotel up in Tyson’s Corner last night. It was kind of humbling. They raised close to $700,000 in a little over 3 hours. Some of the live auction items went for $10,000 bucks a pop. This is the same organization Kathy now works for. She runs their “bridging affordability” program, helping families get into affordable housing. These are just a couple of the many services the non-profit organization provides.

    To be sure, we weren’t among those bidding thousands of dollars per item. We were at table 69, way back in the far corner of the banquet hall – they saw us coming! I spent $50 on the raffle and bought a $25 mystery box, which yielded a $25 gift certificate to an Italian restaurant we’ve never eaten at. We’d gotten the discounted price for our seats at the auction, being a volunteer and an employee, of $125 each, instead of the $250 everyone else paid to be there. There were about 700 people at the event. It was heartening, though, to see the generosity of those who got swept up in the action of the auction, and got into heavy bidding wars, bidding way over the value of the items they were bidding for. They believed in what the organization is all about, which is helping families in Northern Virginia to get on their feet, and to become independent.

    It started with an idea in the bitterly cold winter of 1924 (the year my mom was born), when a few people looked around at the people who couldn’t take care of themselves, and pulled together food, shelter, clothing and coal to help them out. Today, ninety years later, the organization is helping families through an amazing array of services. It’s clearly an organization dedicated to excellence in service, and I came away from the event rededicated to doing my small part to help out, not only with my Sunday morning food runs, but in whatever other ways I can be of service to those in need.
  • I find myself very grateful for the riches I have in my life – not monetarily, but the richness of connections and friendships, the stuff of real value in life. Not having to constantly scramble, financially, does help one to be able to appreciate things like connections with people, and allows time to cultivate those connections. But, it is not a prerequisite. When we were poor as church mice, we would find ourselves with housefuls of friends, there to help us do what we had to do to keep the house from sinking into the sand, or falling down around us. They just showed up, and asked for nothing in return.

    I am grateful for whatever it is - grace, awareness, surrender, love – that has allowed me to get out of my own self-centered prison of a world I once resided in, to be open to all the riches of the universe. To be able to live a life that I have chosen, and to be able to learn new things, each and every day, and to have people who understand me, and who I can understand and relate to.

    In the auction of life, I’ve been exceedlingly lucky. I might not be rolling in the dough – I might be at Table 69, way in the far back corner - but, I’m in it. I’m alive. And, life is pretty damn good.

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