Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tales from the Road

"Let us love God, but let it be with the strength of our arms and the sweat of our brow." ~St. Vincent de Paul

My recent entries have featured too much of me and not enough of the people I want to help. I've been lucky enough to spend three straight days out with clients and not with a computer screen. My arms and brow were exhausted, but my soul was refreshed.

Two outings were to assist with Stay at Home Parent, a new program that features group meetings and activities for moms. Ostensibly, I was there to help with set-up and child care. Really, that just means I GOT TO PLAY WITH BABIES!! In the words of Michael Scott, "I try to hold a baby every day." Babbling crawlers are fun, but I think mewling, curled-up newborns are my favorite. Something about their trusting, untouched innocence makes me proud to be human.

So yeah, I "selflessly" held some little ones so their moms could listen to speakers on parenting or network with other moms. Sitting around the house changing diapers all day can be pretty isolating, and its our hope that SAHP can be an encouraging resource for these clients.

Tuesday I went on a different sort of errand, helping deliver Thanksgiving food collected by NFNF supporters. The office was a flutter of activity boxing up canned goods, toiletries, and toys. As I walked in the door I was enlisted to ride in nurse Treina's pickup truck and help her carry Honeybaked Hams up doorsteps.

Treina lives in the same neighborhood I do, and many the clients on her list were in our area. Our rounds opened my eyes to how hidden poverty can be. One family literally lived down the street from me. I've passed by their apartment complex dozens of times on my way to Schnuck's for groceries. That was chilling, and it made me all the more grateful for my free rent and the beans and rice in our cupboard.

At the same time, it was joyful to be able to ring doorbells and announce the good news that we had a ham and stuffing to drop off. Proud parents of cute kids, however poor, always make me smile. Like the seriously learning-disabled mom whose toddler daughter is smart as a whip. Or the father who actually lives with his baby-momma and jokes around with Treina. Or the grandmother who takes in at-risk young adults and sent us out the door laden with a bassinet and baby swing. That afternoon, the face of Christ wasn't so hard to see.

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