I used to be so good at updating and writing on here once a week. Clearly I have lacked in that area. There just hasn't been a whole lot to write about. Maybe I am just used to everything going on around me? I have accepted what happens here on the South side as normal. Reality: its not normal from where I come from. Not even close.
This past weekend we had our 1st Annual, Precious Blood Fundraising luncheon! It was definitely a success. Over the past month or so there have been so many preparations for this thing. (It's nice that it is finally over!) From creating all the invitation things, finding donations, making center pieces and little things here and there, it is finally done!
At the event I started to feel very thankful and in awe of so many things. We had the event in Rensselear, IN. A half way point between Chicago and Dayton. (where some major connections and contacts are found). Most of the people who attended have never really been to our center. Many knew a run down of what the, "cause," was. I knew maybe 10 people in the room, at best. Yet, I was surrounded by so much support for the center that I worked at. As speakers talked about the center I started to feel a sense of pride and excitement. As Fr. Kelly spoke about the center in such a manner of care and tenderness, then one of the boys got up and spoke of what the center has done for him. I couldn't help but feel proud and thankful for these past 7 months here at Precious Blood. As one of the boys stood there and spoke, then invited two others up to answer questions from the audience I was so impressed by how honest and open they were to these people, strangers to them. And then I began to realize all the things that I have learned from these boys, what set me apart from the audience. I have gotten the chance to be friends with these boys, to learn their worries, happiness, their lives. Though now I am used to what they have to say, the people in the audience were shocked. As one lady put it, "it is such a tragedy what these boys go through, this is such a great cause to support." They were so happy to be at the event and help in some way, even if it is just with money. Support and money can go a long way and to know that we are making connections and relationships with others will only make the center a stronger center. So, over all it was absolutely a successful event to say the least.
But back to the realizations. Just reflecting on this whole luncheon and looking at myself, seeing that I have become used to the lives down on the south side is both great, but kind of sad. The people at the luncheon were moved and impressed by the different things that the center does and provides. I agree it does great things. When I first got to Chicago I thought and still think the same things, but I never sit and really think about it anymore. I hear of shootings going on, I hear of struggles that some of the boys talk about. I know there is gang banging going on near by, I know that there is a women's shelter down the street that works with once abused women, I know that there is a Catholic worker house down the street that opens its doors 4 mornings a week for breakfast for the poor. I know all these things. I see some. And I do whatever I can do. But what I do, is just what I do, its just another day. I am used to these things and have granted them normal. THEY ARE NOT NORMAL. Kids killing kids, abuse and beatings, starvation ect ect ect. They aren't normal. Just like at the luncheon when people were moved by some of the experiences shared by the youth. People know that these things exist. I am not naive enough to believe that they don't (obviously). But the fact that these things go on everyday, everywhere and society lets it happen. I'm not saying that the world should be happy and that everyone should be nice to each other (because that will probably never happen unfortunately). There will always be cruel things that happen. But what if people that were "better off," stopped turning their heads away from the cruel things happening in our country? What if only 10% of them did? What would that look like? I'm not preachin or anything... I'm just saying. What if....?