Last night was my last "official" night with my friends at Dignity Diner. (By official, I mean it was initially supposed to be my last night, but as I have had some schedule changes that will allow me to keep going, I actually have 2 weeks left with them.) Nonetheless, we went forth with last night as a celebration of my time at the Diner. (Which was also followed with a lovely celebration of both Jessica and me leaving at Grand Central afterwards. A lovely time with some of the regular volunteers!)
Its a crazy and wonderful and terribly sad thing to say goodbyes. Everyone was full of kind words, many were sad and not really sure why I couldn't keep coming even though my time here is "officially" done. The guests were nothing but gracious. We took a few pictures and shared in friendly conversation... I was blessed by the carefully chosen words of many. Although I have 2 weeks left with them, last night was the first of our "goodbyes," and so I wanted to share some of what made this night significant for me.
*The love, patience and kindness of a guest I apologetically do not speak enough Spanish to have a solid conversation with. His carefully chosen words (so that I might understand) were "I am sorry you are going. Please come back." (Likewise, friend! I hope so!)
*The good news I hope to hear every week: "I won't be here long either! I got a job!!!"
*"You helped me to find my voice again after so many years of not knowing where to begin" one guest told me when we were talking about how/why the Bible Study (and my time at DD) was so important.
*"This place reminds me that someone does care about me." ~This wasn't directed at me, but serves as a good witness to one of the many reasons I really do love this Diner program, its people, and its vision.
I am going to miss my time with this extended family of the Dignity Diner. I know I've said it before, and I'll say it a thousand times again, I am amazed at the ways in which this community has blessed and challenged me. It is undoubtedly far more than I could have ever offered to them... for all they have offered me - from hospitality to stories to life lessons, I am thankful.