Today I had the privilege of speaking as a volunteer for the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee (www.edct.net) with two high school classes to promote eating disorders awareness and to share my personal story of recovery from anorexia/bulimia. I have to be honest, high school kids are a tough audience! Peer pressure is so great that before any personal expression can actually be verbalized in class, a student’s thoughts have to go through about a hundred filters of self-consciousness. As a result, many of those thoughts or feelings are not shared out loud, especially anything self-revealing concerning a deep subject like eating disorders, addiction and body image. Most of the time, a sincere glance from a class member is the best I can hope for, and maybe a suggested “thank you” or clap at the end from the class, prompted by an appreciative teacher. I do it anyway.
I know that today, I am not harvesting. I’m not showing up to get that awesome warm and fuzzy feeling that some service opportunities provide when you get to immediately see the effects of your donated time and effort. No, today I am just planting seeds. I may never see the harvest or the fruits of my actions, and I’m okay with that. My fulfillment comes in knowing I created a solid foundation where awareness, compassion and understanding can grow. I am putting HOPE in the bank for those who may need to recall the information planted today if down the road they find themselves in the grips of an eating disorder, or someone they care about has started to slip into a gray area around food, exercise or diet.
Many years ago, I was desperate for hope. Today I have plenty to share. To whom much is given, much will be required. I am grateful to serve and for today, that means planting seeds.