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I was surprised at how good it felt to stand in line at the newly re-opened Central Market. As I stood in line with my bounty of Pam’s Pimento Cheese, a memory came rushing back of standing in that same checkout line a few years ago, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

My daughter, Olivia, who was four at the time, and I had made our extravagant final selections. We were ready to justify our splurges in the name of thankfulness when the cashier asked, “Would you like to feed a hungry family in Dallas and ensure they have a Thanksgiving meal by making a $1, $5, or $10 donation?” Olivia replied immediately, “Yes, we would!” And the cashier asked, “Would you like to give “1, 5, or 10?” Olivia, without missing a beat, said, “10!” The cashier looked at me, and I confirmed with a nod of the head and a brief verbal confirmation, “Yes, 10.” I figured it would be the cheapest thing in the cart!

As we drove home, I asked Olivia why she was so quick to reply to the cashier and donate. She replied, “Because the cashier said, ‘There is a family that is hungry in Dallas and wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving meal.’ Daddy, we have to do our part to repair the world.” She took a long pause and then said, “Isn’t that right, daddy?” “That’s right, sweetheart.”

We drove a bit more, and I had to ask her. “Olivia, where did you learn that we are to repair the world?” “Don’t you remember daddy? That’s my classroom name at Temple Emanu-El! Remember, dad; we are the Tikkun-Olam class,” she said “That’s right. You are the Tikkun-Olam class,” the Hebrew phrase meaning to repair/heal the world.

I paid for my Pam’s Pimento Cheese and walked to my car. The memory lingered and settled just on top of my heart. As I put the car in reverse, I had a sense of gratefulness for the memory that revealed what was true about the renewed building I had just exited. It always takes longer to repair and heal than it does to tear down. So, my friends, may we be a people and a community that seeks to repair and heal our world.

With great hope,


Rev. Matthew Ruffner is the Senior Pastor at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church.  He is husband to Sarah Ruffner and a father of two.  You can follow Matthew on Instagram at @thisismatthewruffner and visit to watch the church’s live stream and listen to sermons.