Finding the Silver Lining

Laura - Katy, Texas
Entered on December 2, 2008

I believe in finding the silver lining. It is more than just being optimistic, there is good in every situation, sometimes you just have to search for it.

Every year in Houston on Christmas Eve, there is a Christmas Dinner for all Houstonians who otherwise would go without a fulfilling Christmas dinner. This dinner is no small event; it is hosted at the George R. Brown convention center and feeds thousands of Houstonians annually. To me, it seemed like a fun opportunity to volunteer my time and give back to my community.

Coming to the event, initially I was very excited to spread some Christmas cheer, but I imagined myself doing so by serving a warm Christmas dinner or greeting the visitors with a warm smile as they entered the building. Therefore, when I was assigned to a group of volunteers in charge of crowd control, I was slightly dumbfounded. How was I supposed to benefit my community by wondering through the restless crowds as they waited to receive their meal?

Disappointed and slightly jealous of the other groups that would be passing out toys to young children or singing Christmas carols at the entrance, I trudged slowly into the waiting arena where the people were waiting in line for the start of the event. The moment I passed through the doors I realized just how much work my job would entail. My mouth dropped at the sight of hundreds upon hundreds of people that were already lined up in anticipation of the start of the event. Families of all sizes with children of all ages had already taken up over half the arena and the line seemed to be expanding by the minute.

What was I to do? How in the world could one person even be heard over the unceasing blare of the hungry crowd? I was told to find an area in the line and do my best to make sure the people didn’t become restless or agitated. Overwhelmed and frustrated for being assigned to a seemingly impossible and useless task, I racked my brain for an excuse to leave early. As I scanned through the crowds, I noticed a group of elementary aged kids entertaining themselves by dancing and doing gymnastics tricks.

Intrigued, I approached the crowd and watched in amazement as the group entertained themselves and everyone around them by performing dances to popular songs, even without the music. A few of the kids soon invited me to join, and I found myself learning how to “Soulja Boy” and receiving many spills of laughter from the kids and adults alike with my ridiculous attempt at the splits.

The line soon started moving, and I was able to entertain many more groups of people with my newly founded dance moves. Although it wasn’t the most conventional form of crowd control, I felt accomplished for transforming what could have been a dull task into an enjoyable performance. All I had to do was find the silver lining.