Demetria Kalodimos – Mission in My Words
At this time of year, I’m reminded of the first holidays without my father. He had a terminal illness, but all things considered, not a long ordeal. Still, there was a lot of waiting, worrying and odd bonding with strangers in waiting rooms. Has it ever occurred to you that those waiting room conversations often deal with deep and revealing worries, hopes and wishes?
I recently had a few waiting room style conversations with some of the men at the Nashville Rescue Mission. I was there filming holiday commercials and in just 2 or 3 minutes time, a couple of the men revealed deeply felt, life changing “heart stuff” with me. I got to know them. It was open, honest, genuine and refreshing. It brought back a lot of memories.
I remember meeting a guy in a sports jersey whose young wife had a brain tumor while in the waiting room to visit my dad. I often wonder what happened to him. I can still remember his face.
"Volunteering at the Mission over the holidays has become an annual tradition for me. I look forward to it every year."
And there was another family, on the couch right next to us. Their dad had suffered a stroke. Turns out they actually knew my mother’s side from way back. We still place a holiday phone call and exchange a card with them. Circumstance placed us in the same waiting room and a connection was made.
Come to think of it, we’re all in a waiting room right now. If you’re a person of faith, you believe this is not the final destination. So why aren’t we relating deeply and purposefully with one another every day? Is it only when our own health and wellness is threatened, that we feel open to sharing? Is it only when floodwaters threaten that we unite as a city?
I know there are a lot of people at the Nashville Rescue Mission hoping their situation or circumstance will change. In the meantime, they wait…for a meal, for clothes or a bed. I’m looking forward to volunteering again this year at the Mission over the holidays. I know there are connections to be made.
As the holidays approach, I say let’s challenge ourselves to try to talk and listen to one another in a new way. Don’t turn up the radio when you roll alongside that newspaper vendor. Don’t choose another bus bench just because someone’s already there. A chance encounter can be profound. After all, circumstance has placed us in the same waiting room, and now it’s your turn.
Demetria Kalodimos is an Emmy Award-winning anchorperson for WSMV. She anchors the weeknight broadcasts at 5, 6 and 10 PM, and is the longest continuously serving evening news anchor ever at WSMV.