I cried the morning. I also cried yesterday, on Friday, and on Thursday. If you ask any of my friends back home, they will tell you that this is normal for me. Once while crying I apologized to a friend, saying, “This isn’t a big deal. I’m serious.” He responded by saying, “Bea, you cry over broken dishes. I’m not worried.” Joy, sadness, worry, gratitude-they all come peeling down my face. What I’m trying to tell you all is that I’ve been feeling a lot lately, mostly joy and gratitude and an overwhelming sense that people give so much more than I could comprehend.
Lately at the Sycamore house we have been recipients of amazing gifts. One example we’ve cited lately is when the new bishop of Pennsylvania, Audrey Scanlan, and her husband Glenn came by our home last weekend and casually asked what sort of things we needed in our kitchen. We said we love produce and we need bowls. Lo and behold the next afternoon they showed up at our door with bags of avocados, green bell peppers, cucumbers, and lettuce as well as a huge stack of bowls. In the midst of preparing for becoming a bishop and preaching and greeting people she and her husband made time to bring us groceries. Then at church today they brought us more chocolate, which is when I started to cry.
(Christa and Kaitie holding some beloved presents)
I wish I could list all of the people who have given us food or dishes or hospitality, but the list is too long for this page, and I would hate to leave anyone out of it. For anyone reading this that has helped welcome us into this community: THANK YOU.
While the tears have mostly been in gratitude, the other instance where I really felt a deep sense of empathy and heartache was at my job this past Thursday. I work at the Central PA food bank with the SNAP program (the fancy name for food stamps). Along with a team of fantastic women, I will be receiving calls from those who wish to apply for food stamps. On Friday I shadowed my first phone call with Tara where we spoke to an older woman who was eligible for food stamps. The relief in her voice was palpable. It was right in the room with us. It was soft and desperate and I started crying (again). My boss turned to me, tearing up as well, and said, “This is what I had been missing before I started working here. It will change you. It will make you more humble.”
Right now this house is filled with joy and thanksgiving; it is full with shifting and reshaping; it is full with drained twenty year olds after work; and it is full of hope. Community is hard work, what I keep telling myself. Right now my hope and prayer is that we keep working for it.