I spent yesterday morning serving at my last ministry site of the summer, but at one of my favorites. We went to an organization called God's Love We Deliver. At no cost the organization delivers nutritious meals terminally ill patients in their homes. It is available to anyone, rich or poor, with any life threatening illness from AIDS to cancer to MS to scleroderma (I just learned about that one yesterday). And so that brings me to Irene who I met on my group's delivery route yesterday. She was the last apartment on the route and normally I let my group go up to the apartment to drop off the food, but for some reason I asked if I could go up with the guy going this time. So we rode the elevator to the 12th floor and found her patiently waiting in the hallway for us. She was the most fragile lady I had ever seen. The scleroderma affects your skin as well as your organs like your kidneys, esophagus, heart and lungs. All of Irene's food has to be pureed and she has a tube in her throat because the food will harden as it goes down her esophagus and she won't be able to eat...So we round the corner and there is this tiny woman, skin and bones, waiting for us. Her eyes light up when she sees us and she gives us the biggest smile. She thanked us profusely and gave each of us a hug, telling us what a blessing the organization was and what a blessing we were for being willing to deliver this food. Irene asked us our names and where we were from and what school I went to and what I was studying. When she heard I was studying theatre she was so excited and that was her passion and she had been part of the Yiddish theatre (she was wearing her head scarf) as well as doing summer stock theatre in Connecticut, but she had also been a registered nurse. She was so interested to know about us and I wish that I had been able to talk to her longer and hear all about her life. But she thanked us once again and said she hope our that God blessed our lives and we said our goodbyes and headed back to the lobby.
We don't always get to see the effect of what it is we are doing, but yesterday I got to see it. I am so glad I asked to deliver this meal and that I got to meet this sweet, precious lady who had such a positive outlook on life. I got to see one last time how God is working here in New York City. He knew just how to perfectly end my summer.
-Jessica Lewis, CSM New York Summer 2009 City Host