I thought much of Mother Teresa last week, for obvious reasons. The kids were going out to do service, to make the residents' homes more comfortable and functional and safe. They were seeing a way of life quite different from their upper middle class world where the hardwood floors glisten and ice comes from a lever on the fridge. They saw hard-working people who are struggling to make ends meet and care for their families. Even though they may have done a ton for the residents, it is the young people themselves who benefit the most.
Mother Teresa talked of how much we can learn from the poor. In one crew, the resident offered them a bunch of fruit, and one of the kids talked about how much that meant. "She doesn't even have that for herself, and she's giving it to us." I stopped by one crew just as their resident was preparing lunch for them- meat, peppers, zucchini, rice- the works. She fed those 10 people as her own family. Some residents tried to get in and help with the work; Some spent the whole day with the crew just talking with them. One kid said, "What our resident doesn't have is time, and she gave us so much of that talking with us." These are those giving the widow's mite. We are the rich, giving but a week of our time. They are the poor, giving all that they have. I might add to this post later, as I came home with a lot to chew on about poverty. How are you called to live poverty if you are in the world, or have a family? Do not give out of your excess, Mother Teresa said, give out of your need. What does that look like for me? Much to ponder.