When I arrived in South Bend, Matthew welcomed me with a basket that included a bottle of wine he knew I'd like, a six pack of home brew, dark roast, and a book by Anne Lamott, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers.
In some ways it is hard to believe I have only been here a week, as I have become completely invested in the lives of the participants of our two projects. I care about whether or not Johnny finds his niche in shining and repairing shoes. I'm thankful that Tony has taken him on as an apprentice. Matthew and I just spoke this morning of how we are rooting for Charmaine and Gladys and Robbie, and how we have our own hopes for their future. This project has been inspiring and everything I needed, but also completely exhausting. We are story collectors- we listen to pain and hurt and promise our participants that those things are beautiful. And they are. They really, really are. But holding onto so many lives and stories and hurts and triumphs is equal parts invigorating and draining. Anne Lamott quotes Kurt Vonnegut in her book, stating, '"Welcome to the monkey house. This is a hard planet, and we are a vulnerable species.' And all I can do is pray: Help."
We spend most evenings working three hours or more. We capitalize on the time I am in town by doing an e-course, and having meetings, editing photos and planning the future. Yesterday we worked on my doctorate and looked at the five year plan. This is all well and good and necessary, but it is not enough. Today we went to church, and then took a sabbath. Did we talk about work? Yes. But to others who wanted to know why we had so many cameras, and between us about our hopes for the future. Today was rest. Today was appreciating sunny weather and sand in our snack and between our toes. Today we tasted beer and took time to laugh and play.
Today was sabbath.