I had always heard that it was important to have connections, but it wasn’t until this week that I have seen how they can come as a big advantage. I’m not saying that everyone should go around meeting random people just so that they can use them, but that it is beneficial to know someone who could help you.
On Friday me and Sister Natalie were on our way to a cabin in Lyons that the Loretto sisters own and the car broke down. She didn’t think her insurance would cover the tow and wasn’t sure what to do so she called one of the sisters in Littleton. One of the sisters there said she had AAA so she came to pick us up and call her insurance company. We were there for 2 hours until the car finally got towed. The car was towed to a dealer that the Loretto Sisters have been using for many years. Anyway to fastforward my point, this man that has been in the business for a while and knows the sisters personally made sure the car was taken care of as soon as possible and he even gave them some discounts. Natalie and I were grateful that she had the sisters to help us out and that they had this good connection with that dealership.
This past weekend was busy, but it was good for me. Since I didn’t have a car to drive back to the house and it was pretty late for the sisters they let me stay at the center. The sisters joked that I would get to experience living in a convent since I worked there that day and then spent the night. Totally crossing that off my bucketlist…ha, not really. So Saturday morning we got up and left like at 8am. We got to the cabin, explored a bit, and then got to work. Our task that weekend was to sand and paint the deck of the cabin. At first we didn’t think it was going to be so hard, but after sanding it down we realized it was going to be more work than we expected. We eventually finished it and it looked great! The next day we decided we would go to Rocky National Park since we were so close, only like 45 minutes away it seemed to me. It was perfect! Natalie actually worked there a couple summers as a park ranger several years back, so she knew exactly where the best places to stop and hike were. It was beautiful, I am so glad she took me! When we got there it was cloudy so we got out of the car and hiked a bit. Then as we kept going up the mountains it started raining and snowing! Snow in the summer? That was crazy, but in a good way. It was neat to see the park while it was kind of overcast, but also seeing it when it snowed. Our timing was perfect because we were almost done seeing the whole park (by car) when it started snowing. Once we left Estes Park the sky cleared up and it was hot again! Since we hadn’t really eaten lunch yet we stopped by Lyons and ate a local restaurant. I was starving, I ate a huge cheeseburger, but it was so good! Anyway, aside from the random adventures this weekend, it was nice to do something different. Even though I had only been around for 2 weeks, (now 2 weeks and 4 days) the routine was getting to me. It was good to have some time away from everything and everyone for a couple of days and just enjoy nature. I hadn’t felted connected to nature in a long time, I have missed going to Yosemite every year in high school as a cabin leader and after this weekend I realized that I need time just hiking around and enjoying it all. So even though it isn’t with a person, I have a connection with nature that will always give back to me!
This past days have been tiring. The weekend doing manual labor and hiking and the past weekdays pretty much doing the same. At the Catholic Worker we had been working on fixing up the kitchen, fixing the roof and painting. Monday I spent the day painting and helping make a shelf. Today we had community day (I had no clue where we were going) until I got there. We ended up driving to Georgetown and up some mountains from there. The town was cute and the mountains we saw were amazing! We had a nice picnic and then started hiking toward a small lake. It was so hard to breathe up there! I was telling the workers how I hadn’t even felt like that in Rocky Mountain National Park! But, it was a fun trip overall! It was a nice change of pace for the workers since they had been working on the kitchen for a bit over a week. On our way to Georgetown, Kristen and Marcus were discussing what the Catholic Worker means to them. It was great getting their perspective on how it should work and how it could be changed. One of the biggest things that struck me was when Marcus brought up voluntary poverty (something pretty much required for any of the workers). He said how it kind of puts people up on a pedestal as if they are a hero for living in poverty intentionally. He told of how instead, that value should be replaced with living simply, or just being humble. I really like that concept. Marcus also explained how he thought it was kind of ironic how the workers should practice voluntary poverty, yet how the whole point of the Catholic Worker is to assist people in getting them back on their feet. That’s a good point. They made me think a lot about how there is much more to it than just being in a house full of people and having the title of a Catholic Worker house of hospitality. Also about how even having that title means so much. It was really interesting hearing how passionate they are about the house. They are truly inspirational people for just being themselves!
I can already see how this summer is going to go by so quickly! I have felt so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people every day. When I first came to Colorado I prayed that I would feel at home here and so far my prayers have been granted. Although it has still been hard being away from friends and family back home I am glad to be here because I am learning so much and experiencing things I wouldn’t have ever had the chance to. Like on Monday I accompanied Anna (a sister that lives at the Catholic Worker) to a meeting she had with congresswoman Diana DeGette. The meeting was with a group of religious people (not all Catholic) who were working together on immigration issues. It was awesome just being there listening to some things that I understood and other things I wasn’t too sure about. I also enjoyed being there because most of the things they talked about in some ways pertained to me and my family.