Going to a public high school, none of my friends ever did anything involving service. Other than going to church or synagogue, we never really had an experience like that. I know for Conformation, many different sects of Christianity required a service project of some kind. What I remember most is all of us complaining about going.
I was luckier than my friends who were Lutheran and Methodist; I got to go to a soup kitchen for or requirement, with 6 friends I had known since 2nd grade.We all go to complain about it together. For six fifteen year olds, waking up at 6:30 AM to go to the city of Newark, NJ (did I mention it was freezing) was not on the list of any of our favorite activities. There was cheesy music on, and no heat in the SUV we were in. All I remember thinking at that point in time was, " Thank God I brought my CD player." This luxury item to many people in Newark, was the only distraction that we had, and kept taking turns with the entire trip. We entered the area that most upper-middle c;ass kids would refer to as the ghetto, at 10:30 AM. The church was plain looking, and the sisters who ran the soup kitchen had a guard dog. OK, I'll admit I thought that was kind of cool. By now my CD player was in my backpack, and I was thinking if we got jumped that'd be the first thing the person would grab.
We were all told to make a mixed salad out to of lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes. The only thing I remember my friend Deanna saying was, "Well at least you can see what vet school will be like." I replied that neutering a male dog, and chopping tomatoes were two very different things. We were told to put the salads on these long tables outside, and there were other food items as well;we each took a different station. Of course, we were all separated, which drove me crazy. In another blog for this week, someone talks about stepping out of their comfort zone, I definitely know how they feel.
On page 26 Kolvenbach talks about Christ suffering on the Cross, as being a Servant to his Father. Servant is the only word I can use to describe what we did, and how we were treated. The people were rude, and hostile. The children were the only ones in the room I could feel for. As Michael Jackson said, "I see God in the face of children." I now know what he meant. I felt a true sense of compassion for the people coming in.
St Ignatius talks about deeds being the Core of providing Love and not words. I see that now, in doing what I did. Did I have an eye opener? Of course. I had plenty of extras in my life that I didn't need. These people had a monthly check and lived in a dangerous area.
There was no talk on the way back. I had a horse show in Princeton so my head went to Mars in the van with no heat. Later in the month were all met at church as a group to draw, write about, and discuss our art work. We all said the same thing, how it truly was a DIFFERENT experience. I find it interesting that I am, involved in a Hunger and Homeless group on campus. I was spoiled and self involved back then. Now I have a more mature prospective on things. I want to do it because its an issue that isn't spoken about enough. Ironic? It possibly is, depending on which way you look at it. Maybe if i didn't have a prompt like this for thing week's blog, maybe i wouldn't have seen the irony.