Thursday, April 10, 2008
Storytelling in the Big Apple
Yesterday, I set out bright and early with half of Michael's Michiganders to help sort clothes and serve at a Lutheran Parish soup kitchen.
After hanging and folding hundreds of garments of clothing, we spent the rest of the day handing out plates brimming with food to weary men and women from the midtown area of NYC. I've never felt so genuinely appreciated... maybe its because yesterday was warmer, and maybe it was because the environment was smaller and a little more intimate. And maybe, just maybe, it was because I managed to take the time and look people in the eyes before I slapped a greasy piece of meat onto their plates. I don't know... they say that everyone is a single paycheck away from waiting for a meal in a food line, so why should we look at anyone like they are worth less than ourselves or anyone else? Mistakes, misfortune, or LIFE aside, we are all deserving of that momentary (and all too fleeting) provision of pride and dignity.
You'd think that after a fulfilling morning at St. Luke's with an awesome group of students, and an incredible Vietnamese dinner (mmmm, my favorite!!), I'd be geared up and ready for an after dinner ministry site. Instead... I yet again suffered from a human heart - I was tired. I had a headache. It'd been a long day. But there I was, gathering up my 7 Michiganders, and heading over to the Dorcas Center for Chinese Workers to help out with ESL classes. And by help, I mean lead. And by lead, I mean sitting across and next to three women who just smiled and nodded every time I asked a question. I was drained. And unmotivated. And kind of frustrated. And apparently SELFISH.
But after a page of "reading" and "pronunciation," I asked questions and listened and clarified as these three beautiful told me all about their jobs, their children, their homes... I gave them (very willingly after my much-needed change of heart) my undivided attention, and realized - yet again - that this is what so many people are searching for... Attention. Conversation. LOVE. We all have a story to tell and our lives to share, and we want nothing more than someone who will listen and share back with you.
Besides, I also have three separate invites for some authentic, home-cooked Chinese food. Yummmmm. :)
-Katie, CSM NY City Host Spring 2008