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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Thursday, March 03, 2005

"Some days, I don't like them very much."

One of my field ed parishes runs an ongoing food pantry. It's not very formal. A closet across from the chapel is kept stocked with canned goods and nonperishables. During regular office hours, whenever someone rings the bell and asks, the secretary will load up a grocery sack and hand it out. Anyone can come by, as often as once a week-- no ID necessary, no questions asked.

The secretary's been doing this as long as she's been there-- several years now. She recognizes faces, and knows the names of some of the regulars. She even has a sense for when the need will be heavier, and so some days she'll pre-pack a few sacks and have them ready on the floor in her office, waiting.

On Tuesday, a couple of the clients were difficult-- bickering with one another, and trying her patience. She handled the situation very well, and with practical grace; but after they left, she turned to me and made the statement in the title, rather shamefacedly.

"It's okay. You don't have to." I replied. That surprised her-- I got a wide-eyed look, and a nervous laugh. So I tried to explain.

"I mean it. We are called as Christians to love them: to treat everyone we meet with respect and kindness; to be willing to listen and learn; to help one another, and to share what we have in the name of the Lord. But nowhere does it say that we have to like their behavior."

She seemed relieved.


Blogger Dawgdays said...

You mean I don't have to LIKE them? Phew, that's a relief!

(Just kidding.)

But seriously, it's not like that makes the rest any easier to live up to.

March 03, 2005 11:59 AM  

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