Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Dream We Have May Not Be Ours to Realize

Today I was busy trying to be busy, trying to be a good mom by making it to mass to see my son read for three seconds of petitions. My four year old daughter always needs to use the facilities at mass. Today was no exception.

A friend offered to watch Paul and Regina so I could take Rita by myself and I stopped to watch the class of students aiding the set up of the soup kitchen. These were children with moderate disabilities, some of them non verbal. They were serving those who would come to eat because they had no other place to eat. They were doing meaningful work despite their disabilities, or perhaps because of their disabilities. If they had not been handicapped, they would be in regular classes learning history or algebra or wondering why they had to learn history or algebra and when was lunch?

Instead, they were setting the tables, adding napkins and flowers and notecards. I watched a young man pushing a cart. This could one day be my son, feeding the hungry. I thanked the teachers overseeing the students. Today, a dream I'd harbored was fulfilled not by me, but for me.

You see, when I was a doctoral student, I wanted to run a soup kitchen where the students with developmental delays served and cooked the food. I wanted the kids to do meaningful work that served others. I had served as a supervisor in graduate school at a "simulated workshop" where simulated work was done and hated it. I had watched students grow angry at not the menial nature of the work but the menial nature of their lives, of expectations.

"Who wants to grow up to be a maid?" a student Christina had said one day as she slapped down her book bag. I found I could only agree. Who wants to be a servant? It was then that I started pondering how to make vocational training as it was called, vocational learning (my term). “Who wants to serve?” was a much more compelling question in my mind.

Going back to the mass, we made it to hear my son say his part and I sat there feeling my heart plucked by the readings and the Mass and the ashes and the reality that the meek were feeding the hungry and how great it was, that even little ones like my son Paul might one day be able to act as Christ to others in the little way of setting a table or adding flowers.

The degree didn't happen and neither did the school I'd planned, but the vision of what I hoped did, without me. I just was blessed to see it and to recognize it realized today.


MightyMom said...


truly awesome.

runningmomma5 said...

Beautiful and heartwarming!

runningmomma5 said...

Beautiful and heartwarming!

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