11 July 2011

a long overdue bakin' it to the streets

This last week has been sort of crazy, in a million little frustrating moments. One thing after another that cause me to say aloud things like, "Really?" or "Did that seriously just happen?" or "Are you KIDDING me?". And more times than not, the moment is not kidding. And I get annoyed/perplexed/frustrated.

So what better time to whip up some muffins, pack a couple of lunches, and strap my children into the car to find some folks in need? No better time, actually. We (meaning I) needed a little perspective on what really matters. (Also, the ability to strap my children down can be somewhat therapeutic at times.)

We set out this morning with a bag full of warm peanut butter muffins and two sack lunches. I drove to our usual spots, looking for our usual guys, to no avail. 
We got on the highway and headed downtown, and for some reason I felt a pull to drive up and around the cathedral where Nick and I got married. I miss that place in so many ways. I miss the priest, who despite thousands of parishioners, still remembers us. I miss the breathtaking beauty of the church and the chapel and the scent of incense that has found its home in every crevice of the sanctuary. I miss the heavenly voices of the choir and the intricate carvings in the marble. But mostly I miss the masses of people from every walk of life (including the homeless) that feel at home within the walls of that church. 
That's what church is supposed to be, right?
{an aside: I love our current parish, too, 
for so many reasons, most especially our amazing community of friends}
Back to our outing. As I drove around the perimeter, I noticed a woman, hunched severely over her pushcart. Long, scraggly gray hair billowed out of the hood that covered most of her face. I knew she was who I was meant to find today. I pulled the car over, hopped out and approached her. She cocked her head to the side so she could look at me with one eye through her hair. 
"Would you like a meal?" I asked her.
She grinned and in a soft voice replied, "I would love one."
I smiled and handed her the bag, wished her well, and got back into the car.
And I cried. 
I don't know why, but there was something in her walk, her hair, her gentle nature and genuine grace that touched me. 

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in... 
I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.

I needed that - a reality check. A tangible sense of "it's not all about me". Today it wasn't about teaching the boys something, or doing good for the sake of doing good.
It was me meeting Jesus in that beautiful, grimy face on a street I've walked a hundred times.
And for that, I am grateful. 

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  1. Oh my goodness...your story made me cry. I can also get so caught up in "me" and the craziness that is my life sometimes. What a wonderful reminder. That woman will never forget your act of kindness.

  2. What you did was beautiful! How you did it even more so! I like how you have a spirit of discernment - to see those truly in need!

    On a separate note, I wanted to thank you for your kind words at SITS on Friday - you so blessed me. We have been unpacking from The Big Move - and I hadn't had time to visit - and your comment so encouraged me!

  3. You are an inspiration to others. Keep up the good work! You have a wonderful idea going!

  4. Aw, so nice. I love this. I bet the kids do too.

  5. Hi! I stumbled upon your blog, and had to comment on these posts. We do this too. We live in Fort Worth, Texas, and we drive around downtown with bags of food, socks, gloves, chapstick, water, etc. I love your posts about feeding the hungry. I cry often as well when I give out food. The verse you quoted here is one of my favorites. I have a link on my blog on the right labeled feeding the hungry.

    I'm a new follower of your blog!