Yesterday, I got up and did some writing and then headed off to the food pantry. We had received a major donation and I needed to sort through stuff.
My own plan for the food pantry, the packaging of soup/casserole ingredients that are crock pot ready (think of your food subscriptions like Blue Apron, Dinnerly, Hello Fresh, etc.) is getting pretty close to being trialed on a small group of people who are involved with another ministry of our church.
It is an ideal test since these people served are in a rough place. In speaking with them, they were all excited about the idea. Better yet, they all already had their own crockpots so that is an expense saved. As noted, I believe that we can put together a meal for a family for $5. I encouraged them to give things a try, and to get back with their ideas. Also to tell their friends, which is hopefully how we will grow to meet the greater need of our community.
My idea will not eliminate the traditional food pantry. We will still have the occasional people that come to us with dire needs and require more than a meal to throw in their crockpots. These are desperate times. I am a firm believer that we all must do the best we can, wherever we may be, to lend a hand, to extend kindness into this world.
Speaking of lending a hand, the other ministry leader came to me and said, "There is someone outside who asked to speak to you."
You will never believe who it was. Remember Bonnie, the homeless pilgrim? Yep. She is still around town. She stood there in her long woolen skirt, with her skinny dog, her pack on her back.
I told her how glad I was to see her again and that she'd been on mind.
She fixed an eye upon me. "I have a question for you," and she asked me a question designed to help her decide whether I was a 'true' Christian.
My answer puzzled her.
After a pause, she said, "You know that I am a seeker."
I said, "I think that we all are."
She said, "My job is to encourage others."
I said, "I think that that is our job on this earth, but I can also tell you that encouragement is a two way street. Not only should we consider ourselves encouragers, but we should allow ourselves to be encouraged. That is what God intends when he calls us to be in community."
She studied me.
The conversation was very stilted, punctuated by long pauses as each of us appraised the other, one standing on the sidewalk in her wool skirt, one freezing her ass off sitting on the marble steps of the church in her yoga pants.
It was a time to be careful, because one of the characteristics of schizophrenia is 'religiosity', the delusion that you understand God better than anyone else, and that it is your mission to fix the rest of the world. This can lead to very tragic events.
I said, to her, "Listen, I'm here every Wednesday, and I would love to talk with you any time you want. On the other days, you're welcome to tell the priest that you would like to talk to me. He can call me and I will come."
I left then, heading to my car to run the errands for the rest of my day. I am intrigued that she would return. I am curious where this will lead. Life is an adventure isn't it?
I went to Aldi's and got my groceries for the week. Eggs. Milk. Strawberries. Oranges. Potatoes. Yams. A loaf of bread and two bags of broccoli. I got to the register and entered my debit card. The card reader asked if I wanted cash back, and I requested $20. Tim needed cash for the rest of the week.
The cashier complained. "You need to ask me if I have the cash to give to you. I just got here. You've cleaned me out!"
I looked at her a little surprised. "That's a new rule," I said mildly.
She continued to complain. I think that she wanted me to retort sharply actually. I chose not to. She gave me 4 fives, still complaining. She didn't have a $20 bill to give me. I told her that I didn't need a $20 bill. The fives were just fine.
I repeated it to myself. 'It is our job to extend kindness...' Some folks make it a little more difficult though.
When I got home, the chicken in the crock pot made the house smell wonderful. I popped a potato and a yam into the oven to bake.
It was an interesting day. Iris missed her 'Ama and called to talk. She chattered away, talking about her boots and snow, and what she did that day. She has learned a new thing. She howls like a little wolf. She saw a program about a wolf pack and now she likes to be a wolf. Since we are part of her pack, we all must howl too.
She's right. At two, she has it all figured out: we are all part of the same pack.
Aaaaaah aaaaaaah OOOOOOOOOOOOOH!
What an idea you have. I hope it works well.ReplyDelete
My wife is also an Amma, but she has 2 ems. :)
I have never asked iris how she spells it.ReplyDelete
Bonnie sounds a character. You sound very practical and caring Christian's Debby. What church do you belong to? The Salvation Army and the Capuchins and the Hare Krishnas always amaze me with their practical and caring work and providing soup and food kitchens.ReplyDelete
What an interesting exchange with Bonnie. Sounds like you handled it very well! As for the cashier, you handled that well too, but I'm surprised she was so grumpy. Surely it wouldn't be a huge problem for her to get more change if she needed it.ReplyDelete
I am one of those heathen Episcopalians, Dave. You would call them Anglicans. We believe strongly in the 'thou shalt not judge' thing. Which is good, because if ever a person needed 'not judged' it would be me. We welcome everyone (heck. They even let ME stay!) It's a nice place, and the sermons give me plenty to think on for the week. I cannot wait until we can once again meet in person. I miss them.ReplyDelete
I was reared Episcopalian and still gravitate that way, but am not a church goer these days. That was an interesting conversation you had. I like your philosophy about dealing with people; it can be very hard to put into practice. As a classroom teacher, I worked hard at reacting with kindness and support, even when dealing with the most difficult students. It could be a real challenge!ReplyDelete
An interesting read, I enjoyed it, and the final photo.ReplyDelete
I'm a lasped Episcopalian nay Anglican myself Debby. I don't do church much since my mum and dad passed on through terminal illnesses but I still believe in Jesus. Kansas: Carry On You Wayward Son.ReplyDelete
I am that sort of Christian too, northsider.ReplyDelete
As I say to the doorknockers, God and me are good. Double church as detention during boarding school ensured I had a healthy distrust of organised religion.
Yes, it is our job to be kind. I learned that from my mother, who also said, if necessary, kill them with kindness.ReplyDelete
Oh Joanne. That made me laugh.ReplyDelete
I try to be kind. I manage that okay but struggle with things like patience and my temper.
I'm far more likely to kill with the the last two than the first.
A good day, in many differing ways!ReplyDelete
I'm not surprised that the store clerk didn't have much money. I see very few people paying cash at a grocery store these days. Mostly people prefer cards but with the price of even the basics, it becomes a lot of cash to carry around.ReplyDelete
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I’m really intrigued by your idea about the soup. Please keep us posted on how it goes.ReplyDelete
We do not attend a church but believe, like the Persian poet Rumi— we are all just walking each other home in this life. We live in an area of lots of poverty so we add some items of groceries to our order each week and drop it off at an Episcopal church food shelf on our way home. There is always a line waiting when we go and mostly elderly people. Heartbreaking. And we always wonder, what about those that don’t have transportation to a food bank? I love your idea of the crockpot meals.ReplyDelete
I believe the same. The truth is always true, isn't it, no matter whose mouth the words come from.ReplyDelete
I like the dog on the sofa comic!! I enjoyed hearing about Bonnie, and the fact that you know about Schizophrenia characteristics. So true that we all need to encourage others, and also allow ourselves to be encouraged. I am actually leaving this comment on your blog because it says "Speak to me!!" above the comment block.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed reading the comments also from other people. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I thank you for these posts, as they have given me things to think about.
I love the dog/wolf. Our grandson is almost two and loves to howl as well. We listen to "The werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon, lots of howling.ReplyDelete
I find it's easy to be kind when I'm well rested and not hungry, much more difficult if I'm not, although I do strive, I often fall short.
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