To our surprise we woke up to snow and cold weather. Because of the poor weather we worked off site again but instead of working at the Habitat Restore my teammates and I were able to work on painting another site. Getting there was half the battle, because of all of our hard work the past two days no one was on top of following directions. After a good laugh and a few U-turns we arrived at or destination. In the midst of our paint war we managed to get some of the paint on the walls and not just on each other’s faces. With the help of our Westminster friends we were able to paint a whole house in just one day! Although they are our friends we love to have little competitions with them, as Mairead would say, “Lourdes 4 – Westminster 0, but who’s counting!” (in an Irish accent) Our team seems to always have a GOOD TIME everywhere we go, no matter if it’s cooking dinner, in the car, on site, at the Restore or just hanging out. After this trip I think I might have rock solid abs from all the laughing that goes on.
Through the laughs and camaraderie this has been one of the best experiences of my life. The sheer friendliness and willingness of people to help others is really inspirational. I love knowing that I AM making a difference in someone else’s life. The most impactful thing that has happened to me was working alongside Darrel, the older gentleman we are building a house for. After the first work day was complete he personally came up to me and shook my hand and thanked me for what I was doing. At that moment I had just realized the importance of what I was doing for someone else, before I hadn’t put much thought in it. The emotional impact of this experiment will change my perspective on different things.
We awoke to snow covered van windows this morning. Someone forgot to pack the ice scraper!
The weather will warm up down here the day we are traveling home. Right now the Methodist choir is in the room above us practicing their Easter music. I can tell by all the “alleluias”. Beautiful music! We are invited tomorrow night to the community dinner that this First Methodist church serves every Thursday.
The community dinner last night was at the nearby New Providence Presbyterian church. Sometimes over 200 people are served dinner. People were waiting in line with us to get in and get a seat. Doors opened at 5:00. The man next to me came with his landlord. They always come and sit at table 3. He started attending when he was homeless. Now he has a place to live but continues to come for the fellowship. Alisa and I sat at a table with 3 “regulars” who told us about themselves and the volunteer waitress, Marilyn. They sit at her table every week. Michelle, one of two other first time diners at our table, sat next to me and little by little told me about her life. When I told her that our group was staying in a nearby church for a week she said she would never go to a shelter. Michelle lives in her car with her 2 dogs, her family, her life; they mean everything to her. She hadn’t eaten such a good meal in 3 weeks. She hopes to find work and move out west. Alisa gave her the church address for dinner on Thursday night. Maybe we will see her again.
Last night as I tried to get comfortable on my deluxe Serta air mattress I thought of Michelle in her car with her dogs. I was not as comfortable as when I am in my own bed, but I was more comfortable than I would have been sleeping in my car.