Friday, December 28, 2007

Entertaining Angels

Last Night I had a nice meal with some wonderful friends, in the Georgetown part of DC. Scattered around the various tables were other groups of friends or family (or that wonderful mixture of both), many dressed to the nines in what I'm sure may have been newly acquired Christmas gifts. Wine and good cheer was a flowing, and it really was so nice to be in a room filled with so many folks having a genuinely lovely time . . . and then there was me.

I am actually kinda glad for my less than perfect evening, because it stemmed from a that holy nudge reminding me again that being able to afford such a night was a true gift.

On my way to the restaurant that night, me still rather excited to show off my new three piece suit and Ben Sherman polka dot tie, I drove by my brother Bob as he was laying out his blanket near the side door of my parish where he sleeps. I looked at my car's fancy outside temperature gauge to see a "31", and as it was only about 6 pm, I knew my adopted sibling had a long night ahead of him.

Everything became rather surreal after that, as all the fancy clothes, food, and decorations suddenly seemed like some kind of cruel mocking graffiti, with me still holding the spray can in my warm hands. I so deeply wanted to leave the warmth of that charming bistro, to go drink coffee and chat with Bob.

I prayed for Bob and my (our) other homeless siblings, in the full knowledge that truly by the grace of God, I walk a different path.

As I walked by him today after mass, I can not explain the utter embarrassment I felt. What do I do, give away everything, and live in a shelter with the poor? Do I spend more time helping out, or do I go back to school to get a degree in social work so as to have a greater impact?

Whatever I do, or I pray I hope we all do, I know that it is "our Father's work" we are to be about.


Aramis said...

Dear D'art,

You might find my dear friend Gerry Straub a good read. Check out Thoughts of a Blind Beggar. Maybe you would feel inclined to introduce the plight of homeless in your church by having it host a showing on one of Gerry's films - say Room at the Inn. You can see more of his wonderful work at his blog.

Athos said...

I know, I know. "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?" Ebeneezer says. It is not from that frame of reference that I say this, D'art.

In my time as a pastor, I knew a social worker who knew homeless in the park in the Ghent area of Norfolk, VA by name. She'd even see that they got their checks. But they wanted nothing to do with shelters that they might have spent the night in.

My homeless bud, Thomas, does use a shelter. But the rest of his time is at a Starbucks and Barnes/Nobles, displaying his exquisite drawings, a going concern for him: not a starving artist, but a homeless one. My youngest son and he really hit it off.

Bob obviously doesn't want to be in a shelter. Why? Can you get to know a social worker in the area and make appropriate, confidential inquiries? Just a thought

Stephanie said...

Will pray for you in whatever you do. God and your heart will guide you, I'm sure of it!