Merry Christmas from Sacramento!
Since my last post, work has had some really stressful days. With it being the holiday season, we are getting a lot of donations (which is great!). All of these donations mean extra traffic on North C Street (where Loaves and Fishes is). This traffic just makes work seem busier even though I rarely deal with the donations. The holiday season is either excellent or very hardening on our guests though. I think this is the hardest part. Some are in really high spirits, and others are depressed that they have no where better to go during this season. That being said, some of the Scrooges have caused some ruckus at the Park in the last couple weeks.
With all of that said, Christmas has been excellent to me out here. Yesterday my roommate Nicole and I went to church with our boss Garren and his wife Linda. They go to the church that has our Monday morning volunteers as 2 of its pastors, so we got to see Brennan and Mark and their families last night as well. Then after service, Nicole & I got to go to Christmas Eve dinner at Garren & Linda's daughter Kim's house. It was a wonderful Christmas dinner. We met the family and enjoyed the food and company. Then we left early so we could get home in time to head to the Cathedral for mass. The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is always gorgeous, but last night it was even more beautiful. I think the beauty was in the fact that it was the first time that I'd been there that it didn't feel empty. It's a very large building, and the middle pews are usually the only ones full, but last night the side ones were filling up as well.
Then this morning, I woke up and went downstairs by our tree to get ready to skype home and celebrate (as much as I could) with my family. Nicole was already up making biscuits and gravy. So around 7am Pacific time, I was able to skype the family and open presents together. I got a lot of great gifts, and way more gifts than I'd expected. Then I had to say goodbye so I could eat some biscuits and gravy before heading into work.
I was not looking forward to working on Christmas. I was trying to pretend that I'd enjoy it, but I really enjoy just being lazy around a house all day on Christmas and spending time with family. Today, work reminded me how much everyone at Loaves is a family. It was beautiful! There were many little miracles all around. The biggest miracle I saw today happened while I was on the street talking to Jose. It was my first time to really talk to him, and I enjoyed our conversation. At one point during our conversation, and older Hispanic man came up to ask where Jose got the sleeping pad he was holding. Jose told him that he'd gotten it from SafeHaven, but that there were no more. Then he saw the man look a little down, and Jose asked if he needed one. When the man said yes, Jose handed the man his sleeping pad. To me, that was such a grand gesture for one man sleeping on the ground to make to another. It was a beautiful day at work. Everyone was saying "Merry Christmas" or "Feliz Navidad". We had no fights. No one had to be kicked out. It was amnesty day, so even those who are 86'd were able to join us for the day. It was truly beautiful.
Tonight, Nicole and I are having Christmas Dinner with the founders of Loaves and Fishes. It's nice to know that even though I'm a couple thousand miles from home, I still have family out here and I'm not alone on the holidays. I hope that your Christmas has been as wonderful as mine!