Monday, February 16, 2009

The Heart And Sole Event

"Give without remembering that you gave and take without forgetting that you have taken." I keep this quote close by and often times I ponder these words that remind me of my social resposibilities. So on a whim I planned the HEART AND SOLE event. The invitation touted a pre-valentine's dinner and asked the guests to participate in the spirit of giving by helping the CHOOSETOCARE organization put a smile on the faces of needy children and young adults and a brand new pair of shoes on their soles. The attendees were also asked to wear something red with valentine's day celebration in mind and also to bring awareness of heart disease that continues to take the lives of so many.

So the event was a tall order for the group gathered in red at the Tandoor Restaurant, ready to enjoy the mouthwatering and spicy cuisine of Northern India. The waiters asked "why didn'tyou tell us to wear red?" And without missing a beat, I quipped"you didn't get the memo?" That little bantering set the stage for what can be described as a delightful evening. We ordered meals that some could hardly pronounced only to find out it is chicken or eggplant or lentils, all foods we are used to but tonight dressed up in a different style.

We were not in a secluded area by ourselves but all of us seemed oblivious to the diners scattered around us. We were a raucous crowd, from one end of the table came belly laughs, at the other end and in between the folks were catching up on old times or making new acquaintances. Listening to these high pitched conversations, watching someone hold court as she engaged her fellow companions at her table in 'serious' talk that elicited roaring laughs, assured me that we owned this night.

Before we chowed down, I managed to give a little history of the CHOOSETOCARE organization. I spoke about each project that we have sponsored and invited everyone to visit the web site to learn more. While we savored the dishes and between bites I had numerous requests for another night like this, very soon. One of the guests, high on excitement called for a woman's group. She said if Oprah can have a book club, then we can have a woman's club. All things are possible my friend.

Then as I typically do I began to contemplate, my mind wandered to the significance of this gathering. This I realized was more than about food, it was also a hunger for a good time. In this merriment everyone became 'still', it was an unhurried moment. Tonight's gathering was ripe for the picking, we managed to carve out a pathway to better understanding, we met outside our usual setting-work and discovered sisterhood. The grand prize, a sterling silver shoe pendant is symbolic of hope, that we will use our abilities and experiences to make a difference. I heard your requests and I am already planning our springtime rendezvous.

And as I go about my business of doing one of the things that matters most to me, my other wish is that this will mushroom into something larger so that we can help as many kids as possible. Congratulations to the winner of the sterling silver shoe pendant, it is a reminder of your help to give a pair of shoes to a child in need. Thanks to you all for standing with me.