It was a Saturday. Warm air and no breeze, but that might be because we were in the gym of a school. I had woken up extra early for this amazing day where I could finally be of help to more than just my family, 8 am. It was like trying to do something that wasn’t meant to be done because it was still a Saturday and I really wanted to sleep in some more. We had arrived with plenty of time to spare. Once we started and we got in the rhythm of things I felt like a machine that could not be stopped. Sssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhh! The food was clanking into the plastic bags that were about to be sealed. The meals that we were packaging were going to be sent to people in Africa who could not afford to buy food and are starving, just wondering when and where their next meal would come from.
My whole family was there with me and some other people from our church packaging meals for people who couldn’t afford to buy food for themselves. The gong had just rung letting everyone know that we had just packaged another 1,000 meals. We had good momentum and we had packaged about 4,000 meals. Then, all of a sudden; someone tripped on their way to the sealing station with 20 bags of food. Tssssshhhhhhhhh! Just like that, all the time that we had spent went down the drain. That hard work. Lost.
“What was that?” everyone in the room said in unison.
I looked down and saw that the food being carried down to the sealing station was just spilled all over the floor. It was a disaster. With all of the food gone, I was surprised that everyone seemed to be taking the realization really well. The only problem was that everyone was so shocked that they stopped working, right in their tracks.
Now, realizing that we had spent that much of the precious food just for it to be wasted, there was so much yelling that is sounded like there was going to be a bloodbath. There was stomping of feet, tons of yelling, and the only thing that was helping calm everyone down was the relaxing sound of the classical music that we were working to. Out of nowhere the music seemed to get really loud and it was no longer a relaxing classical song; it was some heavy metal rock music. I decided to investigate. In doing so I realized that the person who usually chose the next song had taken a break so someone else had taken over and must have really liked rock music.
It was now about 11:30 and we wanted to get going at noon, so we had no time to spare. We eventually regained the speed that we originally had, but now we had another problem. Since, so much food was spilled on the floor we didn’t have enough for all 10,000 meals that we had hoped and usually been able to accomplish. When it came down to about the last 500 meals, we were practically out of food.
“What do we do now?” my mom asked.
“Work just as hard, but be a lot more careful because we can’t risk wasting any more food,” the organizer said.
It was now 11:50 and we packaged the last meal with only some crumbs to spare. We started to load the boxes onto the truck that would take it off to be sent to the needing communities. Each box weighed about 20 pounds because each held 1,000 meals. The boxes were loaded up carefully and we finished with one second to spare before it turned 12:00. We all had realized that the best way to fix the problems that we had was to work together and stay focused.
“Yay! We did it!” I thought.
My actions made it seem like we had done that and celebrated like that for real, even though we didn’t. In fact, the ride home afterward was one of the more boring ones. There was no talking at all. The only sound that was there was the noise of the food hitting the floor (the memory). Over and over; it played. A never ending loop that made me wonder if there was anything that could have been done to prevent that from happening, or if there was something that could have been learned from that because it felt like there was a void of space where there was nothing going on.
So why does that stick with me so much? I don’t know, but what I do know is that there can always be a fix to your problems. It may just be the way that isn’t the easiest or most fun.