Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Us vs. Them

The service programs and organizations I was a part of at DePaul University taught me to be aware of the "us vs. them" mentality that can exist in service related work; the mentality that we, as volunteers, are going in to places to help them, the people who are in need.  This mentality divides us as human beings and leads us to think we are saving "those" people instead of aiding our brothers and sisters.  This mentality takes away the dignity of the people we are serving.  Since being taught this at DePaul I have always kept it in mind when doing community service.  However, it is not always easy to see the dignity in people who are completely different than you are; especially with people who are not always the nicest to you.

At the Gubbio I see our guests wake up in the middle of the day, eyes barely open, scratching their arm, slowly stumble to the bathroom.  I see our guests laying in the pew, eyes open, scrolling through their phones, waiting for sleep to catch up to them.  I see them get angry and annoyed when woken up and told to get a move on.  I see couples on the floor keeping each other warm, changing positions every couple of minutes.  I hear our guests breathe heavily and snore really loud while sleeping; sometimes I hear them across the church.

There are days I wake up in the middle of the night and slowly make my way to the bathroom.  I sometimes lay in bed reading or mess around on my phone until I fall asleep.  I hate it when all I want to do is rest and sleep and someone wakes me up and tells me that I have to get up.  There is no better feeling than resting with the ones I love.  And I hear my loved ones snore all the time!  And for me, hearing a loved one sleep and breathe very calmly and rhythmically is an amazing feeling.  

Our guests are just like me. 

The Gubbio Project is the perfect place to see the human dignity in the people who are experiencing different injustices and poverty.  In the church we see something that every human being sees.  We see something that parents see, something that siblings see, somethings that friends see, something that we all see. Not only is sleep a universal experience, it is also an experience that makes us human beings vulnerable.  The walls and persona we take on while we are awake disappear in our sleep.  We are 100% ourselves while we sleep.    

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