Recently I was given the opportunity to shadow our resident Scripture expert, Fr. Hilarion Kistner, O.F.M., as he worked his weekly shift at a local soup kitchen, Our Daily Bread.
And as is so often the case in life, what I thought I was there to do and what God knew I was there to do were two different things.
I had an assignment: shadow Father, interview guests, write a piece that fit our “Food, Family, Faith” series. And that is indeed what I did. (You can find the piece here: http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/special/default.aspx?id=19)
But God had additional items on my agenda that day. He placed several people in my path that gave me a fresh perspective on life. Like Kathy, who for eight years has tirelessly dedicated herself to the mission of serving the guests of Our Daily Bread, with a seemingly boundless energy, and even more compassion. I grew to admire her that day. And Joe, the guest who, with a broad smile, said he loves “music, dancing, and Jesus,” and who snapped his fingers as we “busted a couple of moves” in the kitchen. And a woman who, when I asked her to fill out a photo release form, admitted that she couldn’t read. And Dan, who reminded me that you can have wealth in so many other forms than just money.
I encountered no gloom at Our Daily Bread. I encountered people who were happy, who loved God, who were grateful, who were kind. It snapped my own comfortable, and if I am being truly honest, selfish, existence into focus for me.
It was incredibly humbling. I have always written checks to places like Our Daily Bread, but I am ashamed to admit I had never actually gone in person. The experience is profound. You truly do get as much or more than you give.
I am so glad that God didn’t let me stick to just the items on my To Do list that day!