Last month, the Holy Family Soup Kitchen and Pantry in the Franklinton area of Columbus Ohio, was robbed of two large refrigeration compressors and copper piping. Two months’ worth of food was spoiled, and the Kitchen had to shut its doors.
It will open again soon, due to many donations from people in the Columbus area. Perhaps this is because it has garnered much publicity in the local media.
Before this event, most people of Columbus had no idea that this kitchen even existed. But let me tell you, that it has diligently been feeding people (they went from feeding fifty people a week to up to a thousand in one day) for a long time. It is located in an area, where most suburbanites would have nightmares about finding themselves stranded with a flat tire. It is called home to many of the street people that most of us turn an eye to.
The Pantry also gives food to 0ne hundred families.
It is a Catholic charity. I am not Catholic, but a couple of years ago I found myself devoting one day of my week to volunteering there. It’s funny how these things happen. My friend, who is Jewish, was a volunteer there, and she asked me if I would be interested coming with her to help one day. After that Monday, the rest of my Mondays were penciled into my calendar.
Don’t you just love America- Here we are, my Jewish friend (who was married to a Congregational minister) and me, a WASP, working in a Catholic Church basement.
Now my job, ended up as the dishwasher. In the summer months, it could get to around 140 degrees back in the kitchen. In fact, often times I could lose five pounds of weight in just one morning shift. And it was hard work; fast and furious (one thousand trays sprayed down and put through a sanitizer). Weirdly enough, I found it to have a Zen type of quality to it. I could un-clutter my mind.
Now, my view to the dining hall, was through a little window, and I guess the view of me from the hall, was of a non-descript man passionately throwing his arms about, twisting and turning.
This brings me to why I’m bringing this all up-
Something happened one day that I’m still wrestling with. At first, I took it as a complement. As time has passed, it has taken on deeper meaning. One of the diners, when putting his tray through the window (he looked like someone straight out of central casting for the homeless), looked straight at me and said, “You know, you’re going to Heaven”, turned around and walked away.
This is something that is certainly beyond my capacity as a flawed human being to understand, but I have locked it away for those times when I have needed it; to put me back on track and put my life into perspective.
It is little things like this, that happen to us in our life, which helps us to acquire security, true happiness, forgiveness, freedom from guilt, an adequate purpose for living, and insight for living. And most importantly of all, when I get too self absorbed, it can provide me with the power for change. As far as my spiritual life is concerned: doing seems so much more practical than praying. If this message through the window was an answer, well who can argue.