CFW: Thursday

Currently sitting here in the chapel for quiet time. They started the praise and worship music. Oh my gosh, why is it so beautiful? Everyone is singing so beautifully right now.

Woke up early again to do Morning Prayer with the seminarian. We had about 10 campers this morning, and a good chunk of them were girls from my parish. Awesome. I hope we can get more to go tomorrow and I wish we had this going earlier in the week…but oh well…

Like I mentioned in my last blog post, the plan was to go over to the nursing home today for my small group. Thankfully my small group was small enough because I was able to fit, in my car, the ones that didn’t have other places to be later.

I had heard about different certain residents at the nursing home from others sharing about their experiences throughout the week. I kept those in mind walking in this morning. When we got inside, the activities coordinator was having everyone go sit outside for a while. So we got the campers to help move residents in their wheelchairs outside. A little warm, but breezy which meant that the residents could play with water guns and bubbles. I helped push a lovely old woman named Maud outside in her wheelchair. I asked her the simple questions like where did she grow up, how many kids and grand kids does she have, etc. I came to find out that her favorite colors are red and blue, but she likes pink the best. In-between conversations, I was kind of talking to a Hispanic lady next to Maud but she spoke Spanglish in such a way that was super hard to understand. Arturo came over and helped translate, but I wish he didn’t because I think the Hispanic resident was being flirty and appreciative of my youthfulness.  Kind of awkward.

After spending time outside, I met Gloria and helped her back inside. She carried a water gun with her for a long while and was shooting at everyone. Yes, even other residents!  Which was awkward because I was never sure how they’d react.   I talked to Gloria for a good while. I asked her the same sort of questions that I asked Maud, Gloria was a bit quicker in her speech and thinking. After Gloria, I spent a little time with two gentlemen. One elderly man just wasn’t really speaking or reacting to anything I said to him. I felt sorry for him because he wasn’t able (?) to express much of anything but I looked hard into his eyes even though he wasn’t looking at me and I got a real sense of humanity and dignity from that.  The other gentleman I talked to was Mr. Warren. We talked about his farm for a while and that was cool. After him, I wandered around for a bit. I came across a resident who was trying to get back to her room. Her name is Patricia. We actually ended up back in the dining room for lunch. To make the long interactions with her short, I concluded that she probably has Alzheimer’s or other short term memory loss. We talked about the same sort of things over and over again. Then it got awkward in regards to girlfriends and babies. But, she said one thing to me that really stuck out to me. Given how my current life is, it was comforting. I think God used her to tell me to keep doing what I’m doing right now and to figure out what I want to do. I mean, that’s a separate blog post but those words couldn’t be more applicable.

Regarding the Filipino resident…I did find her! But her family was visiting at the same time we were there because they stuck around for lunch. After lunch, her family left. I noticed that Corazon was trying to get back to her room so I helped push her in her wheelchair back to her room. I didn’t get to converse with her but I’m glad to have helped her out by getting her back to her room.  Sometimes you just gotta do what ought to be done, even if you don’t get anything out of it.

After all this, our small groups had our lunch. After a little bit of downtime and watching Rhythmic Gymnastics on TV, one of my A-Teamers busted out his guitar. And then we started singing praise and worship songs! We attracted a small crowd of residents who were just coming from lunch or were out and about. What was really awesome was seeing the joy in their faces (for those who could express it) and their clapping. I’m pretty sure that was my high point of the day, even though I was really tired at the time.  One elderly gentleman was on his cell phone talking to a family member, and I overheard him say that “some kids are here at the home…they’re singing songs and stuff…it’s really nice” with a smile on his face.  😀

So after leaving and taking a shower, the afternoon got really hectic for me.  I was more or less coordinating my parish campers to cook dinner for everyone. Thankfully we had help from some of their parents who drove out to SVDP to help with dinner.  We had to resort to Plan C in heating up the meatballs for our meatball subs and perhaps there were a few casualties…But! The best part was tossing the salad in a trash bag!  Yes, a trash bag! #culinarysecrets

Our youth minister came by late because he left work late. The meatballs were a hassle but we pulled it off in time for dinner. In the end, a glorious dinner of meatball subs, southwest salad, brownies, and tres leches cake was served…

Oh, and…since our lives are Catholic, we should celebrate feast days.  Preferably with tres leches cake.

Judging by the leftovers from what we made for dinner, I’d say it was a hit ;-).

After dinner, we had our usual praise and worship and Share Chair time. Then quiet time.

I would say that tonight’s experience is something that I won’t mention here in my blog.  But, it just affirmed all the good and awesome things that are happening at camp this week. Not just the good works that we do, but how we’ve changed internally thanks to camp this week.  Again, from my perspective as an adult chaperone for my parish youth, it was really cool to hear them share what camp has done for them so far.

I’ll share what I shared with all of camp in another blog post because I think it deserves its own wall of words.

So much hugging afterwards between A-Team and campers and during praise and worship.  I’m starting to be pro at all the hand motions and other gestures.  Fear not.

Tomorrow is the last day, and I get to go to Mission: Arlington. Should be fun sorting and distributing clothes for the needy!

Nursing home.  Trash bag salad.  Nuuu, almost over! >_>
– JD