Author: Piotr Pokorski, Warsaw
20th December AD2014, 3:00 pm. Here comes the starting signal: “We’re letting them in.” I, alongside four people accompanying me, are standing at the table, waiting. Second time in this place, first one in this role. Looks like nothing, yet I’m nervous and excited at the same time. “Will it be alright?” I ask myself as people pass by and I wait for the right ones.
Such was the beginning of the Christmas supper with the poor. The first one I’ve been to was a year ago. I was a guitarist in a choir. Astounded, happy, yet quite insecure at the beginning (my first experience like this, to remind!). Even happier and more astounded when I came back home. The image I noted: “All of us, ‘rich’ and poor, celebrating Christmas side by side.”
This year? Experiencing it again. Literally. As a table’s host.
Coming back to the beginning, there were eight people by my table. Seven guests: father Antoni (an older, quiet man. Maybe quiet because of his throat illness), Mr. Janusz sitting by my left, a man full of determination and strength (“Despite being homeless for 17 years, I’ve never given up.”), Mr. Sławek, a kind man of impaired hearing, Mr. Jurek, whom I know from meetings and sandwich give-aways. Older man who surprised me with his knowledge on modern technology. Mr. Romek, we’ve discussed some religion and church-concerning issues. Mr. Bartek, who really seemed to be full of kindness.
I knew her a little bit, but hadn’t seen her for like, a few months. A friendly woman of middle age. She came walking on crutches. The first time she had left home for three months. A car ran into her breaking her leg in seven places. It has been the first time she left home since then. Purposefully to come to the Christmas supper. Beautiful, isn’t it? Although she was feeling a bit low. Since her childhood she suffered from many accidents, being made to be taken care of. She felt like a fifth wheel, like an unnecessary burden. Then, one night, she has a dream. There is a heavy, red curtain, like in a theatre. Suddenly it rises, revealing the figure of saint John Paul II. She bursts into tears, crying for help, for blessing, so that she’s no longer a burden, so that she’s in good health, so that she’s strong enough to carry on unaided. Then the saint rises his hand and blesses her with a cross sign.
And the curtain falls.
At first I didn’t got the thing. It took time, to meditate on the things that happened. And as I was recalling that dream, a thought struck me: “This is the icon of the Christmas supper with the poor.” We come there, some to help, some to eat, all to celebrate. Everyone with some struggles, with some of his bones broken. And the Heavens open up and lavish all the blessings they have unto us. “If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand.” (Ps 139,18 KJV). If we should keep something, let it be those blessings. Before the curtain falls.