A Thanksgiving of Peace


I have to be honest and admit that I had entertained thoughts about “skipping out” my volunteerism this past weekend. I realized it was Thanksgiving, but the spirit seemed to elude me for the past little while. It was my first Thanksgiving “alone” as I had just lost my entire family to death and ensuing separation, which not only impacted my functioning but also forced me into very trying circumstances. On top of that, my livelihood suddenly became under threat by people who refuse to comply with the law and ethics and who chose to project their negatives onto me. For example, upon knowing about my family situation, my landlords decided to increase the rent illegally. Partly to intimidate me into complying, they trespassed on the guise to fix the boiler (which they also tried to blame me for wrecking even though I had no access to it because it was inside their house). When confronted with the evidence and law citations, instead of apologizing, they blamed me for not answering the door (which they justified as invitation to enter my place) and even accused me to be “suspicious” for asking for rent receipts. By documenting everything and communicating my rights in a calm and reasonable manner I managed to secure peace and safety, but the whole turmoil left me so distraught that I completely forgot about the holidays. When the weekend arrived, I was simply swamped and, as a result, exhausted. In my debilitated state I became quick to assume that a friend had forsaken his promise to help me deliver food to the downtown east-side. I felt a reminder would defeat the purpose of volunteering as by definition, it should be “voluntary”, so when I did not hear from him I felt he was insincere. I conveyed my disappointment in his behavior and released him from the promise. The incident dampened my spirit so much that I wanted to forget about others and just focus on myself. I started debating about volunteering but at the last minute decided to do it anyway and arranged to do so the day before with a friend. Having another willing to help encouraged me, but deep down I still felt somewhat dispirited. I think this may have contributed to delaying me and led me to miss the time I was supposed to volunteer with my friend >.< In a last-ditch effort, I contacted my sponsors to arrange for my friend/proxy to pick up the bread so that I could do it myself on the holiday evening before going out.

Monday morning rolled around, and I was notified that apparently, months ago, I had unwittingly accepted a request to help out the community in another capacity. The reminder that my entire holiday was to be gone (even though it was for a good cause) did not motivate me initially, I’m afraid to say. I selfishly thought about getting out of it so that I could at least salvage part of my holiday. However, as soon as I did, I regretted it and resigned to accept my obligations (though, yes, begrudgingly). Then, my guy friend and I started talking, which prompted an honest communication about different expectations and attitudes. As it turned out, he actually freed up part of his weekend just for me but was waiting for me to “push” him. I, on the other hand, did not like to force others, so was hoping he’d initiate. Clearing up the misunderstanding made me really happy, especially since he volunteered to help again~ I’ll be sure to force him into submission remind him nicely later this month ;P

Afterward, I went to my friend’s to pick up the bread. I made it into sandwiches and delivered them on foot around the downtown neighborhood. I felt really badly about how humble the food was as I had not been able to go grocery shopping in over two weeks and did not have much leftovers in my fridge, so kept apologizing. In retrospect I think I must have looked pretty suspicious/idiotic because I literally fled the scene while yelling “I’m so sorry for how simple they are! Happy Thanksgiving!” as soon as I delivered it //>.<//

I then went to fulfill my other promise, but found myself instead helping a peer in need of emotional support. I see him sporadically but he found me astute and comfortable to be with so would always share personal feelings to gain whatever insights I may have. He tried to stay late with me (to talk some more, lol) but I made him leave to have hot pot with his family. I also made him promise to take care of himself that night before we parted ways~

I think that being told that I did help someone tremendously that night was what prompted me to regain my feelings of gratitude. Ironically, after refusing his offer for a ride, I missed the last train by two seconds and had to take a new trial late-night bus that took me pretty much all over Vancouver before it passed by my stop. However, since I was in good spirits after helping (despite it being a rather measly attempt, I’m sorry to say), I took it as an adventure and entertained myself by playing “connect to free WiFi” \^o^/ Before I went to bed that night/morning (lol), I gave heartfelt thanks to what I had and prayed earnestly that the people whom I gave the sandwiches to would not become mad after biting into them and finding them devoid of turkey and cranberries… >.<


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