The past couple of days have been really fun, but also really tiring. Sunday we all served the meal and then headed into Center City for a commissioning mass at Saint John the Evangelist, a large parish in the heart of Philadelphia. It was really great to be among other volunteers and being at mass there really reminded me of mass at Saint Anselm--- I missed it just for a little while.
I was on pick-ups yesterday, driving around Philadelphia and getting TONS of food donations from local grocery stores! It's always nice to get away from Kensington for a little while, even if you are stuck in a big huge van. The way the schedule works at the Inn, regardless of what you were on in the morning, everyone is back for the evening meal to help out. So I went home to rest for a couple hours after pick ups and, for the first time, didn't want to go back for dinner. I must've known that it was going to be a crazy meal...
I was on tickets again and got into an argument with a man, Hector, who is in a wheelchair, because he wasn't there when I was giving out the first 32 tickets so I wasn't able to give him one. Him and his friend Carlos (who looks like a pimp and I'm pretty sure could take me out pretty quickly) walked right past me as I tried to stop them... it's really hard when you don't really have any kind of authority that they trust at the Inn. But after the two of them went in, I was able to find my confidence again and hand out tickets to the rest of the guests that came our way.
I got to talk to a few people that made me laugh, made me go all "social work", and made me really enjoy working with them. One man, Frank, was telling me about how he just got out of jail, another, Leon, spent most of his time with me after the meal, until the yard closed at 6, and yet another, Mike, shared his story with me, right there on Kensington Avenue. Mike is homeless and definitely has a problem with alcohol, and can't seem to get his life together, despite all that he claims to try. Imagine how desperate he must be to share his story if he shared it with me in front of 35o guests waiting for their dinner. I love it here because you never know how deep a conversation can get or where it'll end up!
We had our Kensington Franciscan community dinner with all the friars and lay women last night. It's really great to spend time with the people that we work with outside of the work environment. Plus, they're all crazy and lots of laughs were shared around the table!
So that brings me to today... it is thankfully my prayer day which means I have the day off! I slept in, spent time journaling and listening to some new music I downloaded, and meditating on some of the things I am experiencing here in Philly, both with my community and the guests, and within me.