Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer School 6: Now I know that God has other plans for me

Originally published June 14, 2017

The idea of a cooking project makes me smile, but I'm not ready to tackle it quite yet on this Monday evening in Summer.

The next day when I arrive on campus I find Mr. D* sleeping in front of my classroom door using his backpack as a pillow.  I don't want to bother him but I'm also worried something is genuinely wrong.

The classroom door is locked (thank GOD that's all, for now) and I have to run back upstairs to get Valarie which reminds me to give Valarie back her bright red umbrella which I borrowed from under her desk while she was on vacation.  We walk back downstairs and open the classroom.

Mr. D* sits quietly while I get my stuff ready -- computer on, projector on, files out -- and then I'm ready to talk.

He tells me he's lost his phone, and because he was looking for it so late he missed dinner being served at the shelter and he's hungry.  I offer to go upstairs and look for something in my office or the faculty lounge and he's thankful.

But I don't go.

 I stay and tell him that I read every single word of every single page he wrote.

He nodded.

I take a deep breath and ask, "You told me how they died, could you tell me a little more about how they lived? Did they have any favorite recipes?"

He nodded and we both cried a little because what he has gone through, what he has lost, is too too much.

I go upstairs and bring back chips and crackers and make a note to myself to bring Mr. D* breakfast tomorrow.

In the time I was gone, Mr. D* has filled four pages with stories and recipes that he folds over and hands to me.  May this project bring him   healing and joy, now and in the future.

Of course the rest of the class has no idea what Mr. D* has handed me, they're ready for lecture and it's time to start.

This semester I am making sure to clarify that the US has long been a violent nation with all sorts of riots, big and small.   Today's lecture includes the story about Preston Brooks beating up Senator Charles Sumner over his comments regarding a cousin and the state of slavery moving to Kansas.  After that we cover John Brown's actions in Kansas and Harper's Ferry and close with the Civil War starting at Fort Sumpter after Lincoln pronounces he has no intention to disturb slavery in the states where it exists but they don't believe him. Actually, Missouri-Kentucky-Maryland-Delaware believed this, and stayed in the Union. So the war wasn't simply between slave states and free states.  Little light bulbs go off over students' heads. They've learned enough.

After lecture I help Mr. D* get his backpack on and wish him well as he goes off into his day.

I am quite aware that Summer School ends next Wednesday and I should be writing Mr. D*'s recipes up quickly, but the Attorney General is testifying in an open session and I watch it and remember to add "Watching Congress" to my list of things I like to do. But lower on the list than EPCOT.

The Art of Cooking by Mr. D*
....I did not want to live any more after that, but now I know that God has other plans for me.  I go to school. I am the first child in my family to go to college. I am going to school to get my Ph.D. in Social Work so that I can help people who are disabled.  This is my true purpose in life at this day and time. So is this the beginning or is this the end? I am a 60 year old, homeless and a student. In October 2014 I had a massive stroke so I cannot cook anymore.  This stops me from doing something I love, but I also love helping people.  I am a people person, so maybe this is what God intended for me. I am truly grateful and I want to thank God for giving me this opportunity to share my recipes with the world.