As a young man working in a lab in St. Paul, I looked up to the engineers I worked with and thought, “I can do that…I want to do that.” The path to get there was not an easy one but a few night classes, a good enough score on the GRE, and a fortuitous connection that led to a great reference, landed me an offer of a Graduate School research assistantship in Seattle. When I arrived I suddenly realized how alone I felt in this entirely new situation. I was way out of my comfort zone!
But after a few weeks, friends were made, the workloads were managed, I even met my wife to be! After two years or so however the friends graduated and left, including my girlfriend! I had to stay, finish my research, and write and defend my thesis. I was alone again.
About this time I crossed paths with a high school friend living in the area and decided to check out the University Lutheran Church. I was alone no more! In these moments of loneliness and even despair I recognized a presence in my life that helped me through these challenging situations.
Many years later that presence is still with me and the hope it brings is renewed every time we serve the evening meal at the Dorothy Day Center. Through the Loaves and Fishes program we are privileged to provide food to people in need and to interact with them and the people that work there to care for them. The gratitude we receive from many of the clients and the amazing attitude they display is an inspiration. Certainly if they can find hope and happiness, we, with all our blessings, can find it as well.
Recently the entire Dorothy Day food service operation was relocated and new procedures had to be implemented. It was our turn to serve AND we did not have enough volunteers! I did not feel overly concerned. I had hope things would work out. Sure enough a few faithful members were able to arrive early to finish the food prep and the time we spent buttering bread created an opportunity to get to know each other. The new location did not require that we serve beverages so fewer volunteers were needed. With the transition, we worked more closely with the staff which has also been a blessing. What seemed like a major challenge ended up being a pleasant and rewarding experience.
These are only small examples of where God’s grace has provided hope, a light in the darkness. That hope is everywhere just waiting to be discovered.