Posted by: janpierce | October 29, 2011

Just Ten Minutes Away

    Think about your neighborhood and your home–the place you spend your life with your family. Now, think of all the people, places and ways of life just ten minutes in all directions. What happens to the mental picture you have now? Are you now forced to include the guys and gals with cardboard signs at all the freeway entrances? Do you now include tacky apartment buildings with worn siding and convenience stores that look like they’re just waiting to be robbed? How does your picture of home change when you include everything that exists just ten minutes away?

Last night Roger and I helped serve a meal at Angels of God. I love going there to pack up bags of groceries and help with the work of distributing food to the needy of the community. I worked in the back room the first few times I helped. Back there it’s dusty and cramped and the work makes my back hurt, but my heart feels better. Last night I helped serve out the hot meal that’s free to all every Friday night.We served over 250 people.

I was surprised that there weren’t more families. The majority of those eating were single men and many of them were young, maybe in their thirties. There were those who looked apologetic as they passed through the line. Some looked well-groomed, some not. A few dropped a few dollars in the can at the beginning of the line. There were lots of people who have missed their dental appointments for most of their lives and lots of hairdo’s that haven’t seen the inside of a salon. There were also many friendly smiles and a few efforts to sneak in an extra plate because they were really hungry, or maybe wanted a plate for later.

We worried a little bit that there wouldn’t be enough of the main dish for everyone. But as it turned out there was just enough. Some people had seconds. I noticed that almost everyone took everything offered, including the cauliflower and broccoli. They wanted to be full and weren’t picky.

I really love serving the poor. There is something inside of me that likes to give and I like the physical effort involved. But guess what? After we finished our shift, we got into our car and drove to the grocery store where we picked up a treat for ourselves and then drove home to our comfortable home in the “burbs.” I was mindful as we walked up our walkway and into our warm home, that we live thousands of miles away from the people who ate their dinner at Angels of God, and yet it’s only ten minutes away.

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