Face to Face

One of VISTE’s Board Members recently reflected on delivering groceries to VISTE’s homebound clients  …

Face to Face: The Gift of Gratefulness


In this fast-paced world in which we live, with much of life being lived online, sometimes we miss real opportunities to make a face to face difference in someone else’s life.  


Oftentimes, we are so busy, too busy in fact, to see firsthand the plight of others in real need.  People who are frail and elderly.  People who are alone and lonely.  


For many years, I have sat comfortably in a meeting room, at VISTEBall, or in my home; writing a check or writing an article about the work that others do in the trenches with VISTE clients.  Today I had the opportunity to go out and meet those clients face to face.  I entered the trenches, and it was a game changer.


They move slowly, our VISTE clients. Sometimes on walkers, other times in slippers. You find yourself adjusting to their pace, and suddenly you aren’t racing any longer. You are talking to them about how grateful they are to get a can of soup, jar of peanut butter, or a single roll of toilet paper.   


Bearing a cardboard box with simple, basic commodities, the clients look at you like you are Santa or at the very least, one of his elves. You are the recipient of their gratitude which is worth its weight in gold and extremely humbling. 


They hobble to the door and tell you to have a blessed day because, as one client said, “I tell my friends that if I can just stand, the day is blessed.”


And they smile great big smiles that melt your heart. And they never forget to say, “Thank you!” And what’s more, they mean it.


You have left them a thirty pound box of food. They have left you with a far more valuable gift, the gift of remembering to be grateful for the everyday blessings we take for granted in our plenty and our busyness.  


So, the next time we find ourselves in traffic, instead of honking or rendering an indelicate salute, we need to  be thankful we have a car, that we can afford the gas to fill the tank, and that we are not dependent on the kindness of strangers to take us to the store or a doctor’s appointment.  


The VISTE clients to whom we deliver food or whom we ferry to such appointments are certainly grateful for that car, and especially for the car’s driver. 


The next time we find ourselves irked that our restaurant meal isn’t perfect or that the sales clerk is annoyingly slow or inept, remember that our VISTE clients are grateful for a simple jar of peanut butter or even a trip to Publix where they can just talk to someone besides the four walls surrounding them. 


Instead, we need to let our clients help set our pace to a manageable level. They can show us what real resilience and dignity are all about.  And true gratefulness.  Many of them are aristocrats of the soul; they may not have much in the way of material things, but they are rich in the things that count.  We can learn much from them. 


So the next time VISTE calls with the need for drivers, please do not hesitate to help. If you race one place, let it be there to help these seniors.  I promise, you will not regret it.  You will gain more than you will ever hope to give.