Paz de Cristo

The first Sunday of the month our church volunteers at Paz de Cristo. As it happened, the first Sunday D and I attended Desert Heritage was also the first Sunday of the month so we went. It was an eye opening experience. We’ve gone every month since – except for one when we were in Texas.

Tonight is the first night I’ve wanted to weep. A young person, maybe 19 came through tonight and was so obviously scared, and so obviously embarrassed, shamed really that I wanted to just grab him and say “Why are you here? Go home to your parents, go to school, DO SOMETHING SO THIS DOESN’T BECOME YOUR LIFE!”

I can’t get this kid out of my mind.

Most of the people who come through have an aura of self preservation. Mostly they’re nice, sometimes they’re not. Sometimes they act like the whole world was put here to answer their snapping fingers and it’s moving just a little too slow. But you always know somehow that they’ll be there next month, that they’re going to find some way to survive. When they finish their first plate they’re right back in line getting as much as they can.

This kid ate everything on his plate. He was neat in habit and dress. When he was done I watched him get up and hesitate, looking at the line but not sure if he was allowed to go through twice. It broke my heart.

Maybe I can’t get past it because he was so like one of my sons (only with good table manners:P) and he was alone in a soup kitchen. Maybe it’s because I can look back on my life now and see how, but for the kindness of others, that could’ve been me.

Maybe it’s because I feel like I could’ve done something more and I didn’t.