Just thinking out loud

From 2000-2001, I volunteered 3 Saturdays each month at the missionaries of Charity house in South East Washington DC. 1/3 of the time, I car-pooled with young adults from my parish. The other times I took the red line from Shady Grove and transferred to the blue line to Anacostia, and walked a few blocks through the neighborhood. I got to know a lot of people in the neighborhood, a couple of smiling cops; the familes that came weekly to the soup kitchen; a college drop-out who carried his chess board around and beat me in 4 moves… I became the fastest potato peeler in the kitchen, held babies in the home, and I chaperoned field trips with the sisters for the after school program. I spent so much time with the nuns in white and blue saris that they asked me if I was discerning a religious vocation. Of course not! Whenever I was in this run-down broken neighborhood, I was simply me, I did not stand out, I was not judged, I was at peace. Then 9-11 happened, I lost my job and I had to move.

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