The weekend at my parents' cottage was wonderful - definitely nourishment for my soul.
G had a rough time with back pain on the ride up on Thursday, but by Friday, as he was sitting outside in the sun in a big wicker rocker, watching me (outfitted with a respirator) strip paint from an old oak table, he said,
"I'm very glad I came."
It was so good to spend time with my older sister and her husband who live many hours' drive away, as well as catch up with parents and local younger sister and her family. Lots of talk, several projects, including planting our swale gardens, and gorgeous weather and surroundings made me feel rich with blessings.
It would be nice if we all lived closer, but we don't, so I especially cherish times like these.
It is a big relief not to have a needy being awake in the house.
I am awake, enjoying the quiet, and working on something very satisfying. Every year there is a drive to provide Christmas Baskets to needy families that are clients of Cathedral Shelter on the near west side of Chicago. Cathedral Shelter, founded in 1915, does phenomenal work with people with addictions, the poor, the elderly, ex-cons, the homeless - in general, everyone that our society tends to throw away.
For the last 4 years I've coordinated our parish's program to adopt families to provide Christmas Baskets. This year I'm also assisting in providing the packets of information to the 40 or so parish coordinators (like me) who manage the program for their church.
There are about 1500 families, seniors, and homeless individuals who have registered with Cathedral Shelter to receive gifts and a grocery store gift card. (When I started participating in the program as a sponsor for a family, probably twenty-some years ago, we bought all the food - a week's worth of groceries and non-food items - as the gift card concept wasn't in wide use. Since they switched to the grocery store gift card, it is so much easier on everyone - not so much weighty stuff to schlep around, and the clients get to choose what they want at the grocery store.)
I wish I could say I'm great at working with the homeless, or the poor, or the recovering addicts. Sadly, I'm not. I take the easy path and work at arm's length. My role is paperwork, phone calls and emails, and documentation. But it still feels good.