Ok. I know. I suck at this blog updating thing. I actually haven’t even thought about it for awhile, but today I had the entire day off, which hasn’t happened for a few weeks now, so I decided to make no plans and just sort of see where my day went. By the time I had woken up, dropped my roommates at the prison, eaten breakfast, met with Chris, my supervisor, to catch up, folded my laundry, and given my room a thorough cleaning for the first time in awhile, I found that the only logical thing left for me to do was to sit down and work on giving the corners of my mind just as thorough of a cleaning in order to remember and process just exactly where I am and what it is that I am doing here.
The most significant thing I can say is just how not significant everything seems. I don’t mean that in a negative way; it just all seems so much more normal than I imagined it would. I have ceased to be phased by the idea of working with inmates or teaching ESL to potentially undocumented immigrants or the fact that a significant portion of the drug exchanges that occur in Wilmington occur just a few blocks away from my house. I love my house by the way. I love the bright green kitchen and the drab brown wallpaper in the dining room (though I am the only one of my roommates who holds the latter opinion). I’m even (maybe) beginning to find the mice a bit cute, though I really really wish they would stop pooping on the counter. Really.
Anyway. My point is that maybe this feeling of normalcy about serving the “lesser” ones is exactly what I could have hoped for. Maybe that’s the whole idea. Realizing that it’s not weird because they are no different than us. On Monday one of my ESL students got a little confused with her possessive pronouns. She accidentally matched the pronoun “we” with the possessive pronoun ”theirs” because she forgot the difference between “we” and “they.” I kind of like that. I’d like to think that there are less of “them” and more of just “us.”
On Saturday, I went to Silver Springs, Maryland for the annual Encuentro Franciscano, which is an all day gathering of all of the Franciscan Hispanic parishes in the Holy Name Province, which extends all along the East Coast of the United States. Tons of people came from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and as far as North Carolina. The entire day was in Spanish, and I had gone without my roommates so I had minimal understanding of what was being said for the majority of the day, but I had the opportunity to observe. I couldn’t help but admire the way the friars allowed themselves to be welcomed and embraced into the Hispanic culture. These really were their people, and the people saw these men as their priests, even with their terrible accents and out of tune singing and laughable attempts at dancing the salsa. It didn’t matter because they have all chosen to embrace something bigger than themselves, and to embrace each other in that process. It’s a truly beautiful thing to watch, and an even better thing to be apart of.
I have tons more to say about community living and Franciscan spirituality and all of the wonderful people I’ve met, but for now I will just leave it here. Still so happy and grateful for this experience.