dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Las Vegas Catholic Worker

This morning we got up at 4:30 to get ready to go to Las Vegas Catholic Worker and be there after 5 to help cook and get ready to serve food. There's this empty lot where 200 people gather to eat. They're fed hot food and different drinks. I dished hot food into thick paper bowls and dispensed tomato juice into styrofoam cups or their own bottles. Everyone was nice. Our friend E played his guitar for the eaters. There was no conflict. It seemed like everyone knew what to do--I mean, there were set norms that everyone was following.

M and I washed some dishes when we first got to the Catholic Worker house. It reminded me of long ago when I worked at the dining commons during my undergrad years. There are huge three-sink sinks and huge pots stirred with metal oars.

Then there was a prayer time--we read a psalm from a book and there was extra stuff. Gee, I'm sleep deprived again--can you tell? What do I mean by extra stuff? I mean it wasn't just the psalm. For example, we said the Lord's Prayer, which I remember from my childhood.

Then right before we left to serve we gathered around in the kitchen and all held hands and read together from laminated pieces of paper about our intent. Catholic Worker is about service and giving what we have. I am far from Catholic, but there are things about it I can appreciate (stained glass, incense, ritual, costumes, sacredness). And I always like holding hands.

So then we went to the vacant lot to serve, and I wore a colorful apron. I worked with a person who called everyone honey and baby. I didn't like being called baby at all. I said goodmorning to the eaters sometimes. I felt honored to help. I felt matter-of-fact about it but also tender, maybe because it was my first time.

The food was vegetarian, which I like. I think it should always be vegetarian because for me, vegetarian is the default type of food that almost everyone can eat. I guess vegan would be best, but a lot of people wouldn't agree with me about that.

Someone helped me serve the tomato juice. He titled the bucket while I worked the spigot. I liked them teamwork.

Then we loaded up the truck and went back to the Catholic Worker house. People washed dishes quickly, and M and I dried them. Then I took apples out of bags so someone could make a cobbler.

The friend I really wanted to see who I met on the Sacred Peace Walk wasn't there, but he'll probably be there tomorrow, so maybe we'll go again.

This whole trip has been one big experiment with sleep deprivation and new experiences.


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