Over the past week, I had the fortunate opportunity to help my brothers with their Christian Service project. Most schools require a two to three reflection upon completion, the standard boilerplate: What did you do to advance Christian ideals in your community? How did it make you feel? Did your experience change your perception of others and God’s role in the world? If so, how?
After nearly two decades of Catholic schooling, you become somewhat proficient in the expected answers, the necessary opinions. The formula rarely fails; any semblance to actual contemplation is purely accidental. And for a household of dyslexic siblings, where abstraction is a four-letter word (sometimes literally), the more concrete, the better.
What follows is one of their rough drafts, my brother’s first attempt at relating his experiences at the nearby farm. With his permission, I’m reprinting his work here as his brutal honesty left me sprawled on the floor laughing:
One of the most memorable moments about this summer was when I had to pick up rock in the middle of a field for my local farm. The job was tough by bending over constantly to pick a never ending field of rocks. Though I walked for a total of 2000 yards of rock picking up misery I felt good about doing it. When one is in the middle of a never ending field picking up rocks you feel good about yourself. Though I rather have been doing other things I realize that working on the farm helping other people in the community is a lot better then doing other things that I want to do.
. . .
Everyday I usually arrived at 8 a.m. to feed the pigs. I would ride around with the owner and help him feed the pigs. He had a trailer on the back of the tractor that held feed. We would fill each pen with enough feed for the day. He would always tell me to be very careful with the feed. He told me that feed cost a lot. I never had thought that feed would cost a lot but when I actually thought about the reason why it cost so much it made sense. Because gas prices are rising it affects the cost of feed. I also found out that because of the price being so high it can cause some problems for the farmers. They need to grow and sell what ever they can just to try to break even on the cost of the property. This is a serious problem that regular people do not think about every day.