Sunday, September 16, 2007

"You call yourself a Christian?"

-Paul, Joanne and I at karaoke in Camden!

Since I last wrote, I've been spending a lot of time with my housemates, really trying to take advantage of the time we still have with Paul. Friday night we went to karaoke with the girls in Camden and I actually got up and sang! We sang "Sweet Home Alabama" as a house and some other songs were mixed in there too! It was a really fun night and we all had a really great time!

I had Saturday off so I got to sleep in and be lazy for awhile. It was really nice to be able to just hang around in my pjs, we don't get to do that too often with mass every day at 8:30am. Emily, Maureen, Joanne and I went to see Across the Universe in Center City. I wouldn't say it's the best movie I've ever seen, and certainly not the most boring... I would say for those who were alive in the 60s and 70s, it might be more up your alley. But it was a musical about the 60s with songs from the Beatles... really cool! When we got back from the movie (after driving around Camden for 1/2 an hour trying to find gas), we had community dinner (which I made, stir fry!) and played Pictionary! It's so great to have community members that enjoy board games like me! But it really makes me realize how much we're going to miss having Paul as part of our community. :-(

Today was really great! I got to coordinate with Barbara, who is pretty much my role model here... she embodies humility and patience both with us and with the guests. But she let me run the show and I had a lot of fun doing it! (I know, it's weird for me to like being in control :-) ). While I was coordinating, I was talking to a man who told me that he wanted for us to give him food that he could eat for the week while he was working and before he got his paycheck on Friday. Well, we're not really a food pantry, although we do have a basement full of donations, but we really try to focus on breaking bread with our guests. So, after some smooth talking (completely on his part), he convinced me to get him some food; I got peanut butter and jelly, two cans of tuna fish, and two cans of soup, certainly not enough food to last the week but, if he really tried, he could stretch it. About 15 minutes later, the same man came up to me asking for more food. Well I stood my ground this time and said no. We went back and forth for awhile and he left me by saying, "You call yourself a Christian?"

Yep, it felt like a slap in the face. But I think it was really good for me to hear that because it humbled me a little bit. Given all the support and love you've all showed with me and the encouragement and praise we've been receiving from our community here, it's been really easy to feel pretty good about what we've been doing. But in an effort to embody the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, I must make more of an effort to live the Gospel without feeling like I'm entitled, but should do it because that is what I'm called to do. But it's not always the easy work and needs to be done even when it's not so glamorous or fun.

I recently had a conversation with my brother about this very topic. I've been struggling a lot lately with all the affirmation and praise I've been receiving. It makes me feel guilty because if you knew how much fun I am having here, it's almost not work. I get to work with people I love and, although I expend lots of energy, I end the day with a big smile on my face. I do not feel like I'm doing anything special or great, I am just doing what I feel I'm being called by God to do at this time in my life. But I don't think this is any different from Michael, who is being called to be an incredible and inspiring football coach and tech dork at Hollis-Brookline High School. We all have different callings and they're all necessary for all of us to survive, this just happens to be mine now. Now that is not to say that I don't appreciate your praise and love, because it is that which sustains me here when I'm having a difficult conversation with a guest, or am feeling tired or frustrated with one of my housemates. But I'm not any more deserving of the kind words than everyone else.

Sorry this was such a long post. And thank you for reading! My love and prayers are sent your way!!! xoxo


Nana said...

You seem to be adjusting to your new experiences. This seems to be where you need to be at this time in your life. My prayers are with you.

Love, Nana

Kathy said...

Hi Kate,
You're right. We are all called to do different things for God. You shouldn't feel guilty about loving what you do (although I understand it!). I believe it only means that you have chosen wisely! To be so young and already be on that path is a blessing. I don't think feeling punished would be a part of God's plan for the work you do. I think those who are unhappy with what they do, just haven't found what it is God wants them to do with their chosen pursuits, or maybe they are on the wrong path altogether. It is each of our jobs to find what that path is on a personal level. I'm sure it takes most people a lifetime, especially if that path has many twists and turns. I think your brother is doing what he was called to do. I'm sure he is teaching much more than football to those kids! Keep up the good work and listen to the answers to your prayers.
Love, Auntie Kathy