Hayley: A Caritas Story

Happy New Year all! You guys…it’s 2016! That’s incredible, but I would love to ignore that for tonight if only to tell you all about an unforgettable experience Eilidh, Alex, and myself had at Caritas at the end of last semester. Let’s take it back to 2015, shall we? (After all, it will technically be Thursday by the time I post this.) THROWITBACK

The stars aligned one week last semester as Eilidh, Alex, and I were all able to go to Caritas at the same time on the same Friday afternoon—that in itself was wonderful! We went with the intention of helping to serve lunch, ignorant to the fact that we were visiting during the Caritas Holiday Market’s prime business hours. Most of the hustle and bustle was related to the market rather than lunch however, so there wasn’t much for us to help out with. We took the opportunity to meander throughout the artists’ tables as we awaited an assignment (and by happy accident I was able to buy Eilidh a Secret Snowflake gift before she arrived!).

The tables were packed so Alex, needing to rest her feet a moment, asked a woman sitting at one if she could join her. The woman said yes, and sure enough they got to talking. The woman’s name was Pam, and she was selling her art (beautiful, colorful painted vases) at the market. What’s more, she had been the carpool-coordinator-extraordinaire that provided a ride for a number of the other artists at the market, despite her waning eyesight.

We soon found out that this carpool system was no new thing for Pam—she does it frequently as part of her efforts to provide means and resources to low-income artists. In fact, she owns an art studio downtown that provides art materials and studio space for these artists; she has seen individuals go from being without shelter to selling their art for thousands of dollars. Pam’s joy was palpable as she spoke to us. And not only when discussing art, but also her daughter-in-law…she only had kind words—the kindest—to say about her!

Meeting Pam truly made my whole day, and I still think of her infectiously kind spirit often. She was one of those people who are just so instantly familiar with you, so instantly embracing of you that you feel genuinely loved. But how can that be? We just met!

I don’t have an answer now, but I hope some day I can figure it out so that I can try to be more like Pam. And I hope you all have met, or have someone in your life (maybe it’s you!) that is like her, too.

Ruka Love,

Hayley

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