July 11- Signed up to serve in whatever way needed

Journal by Jody

Well, the 3rd day of my second week serving in Browning, Montana, is coming to a close.  This second week of service has been very different than the first in many ways.  First of all, my five children are not with me this week and this feels “down right” odd.  Every place I go in town, I am flooded with memories of things we did and experienced together as a family.  The other difference that is noticeable is that I am not sharing a room with my husband this week.  That feels even odder.  My husband and I still enjoy spending every minute together as a couple, and early morning and late evening are special times for us.  In the morning (at 4 o’clock) we catch up over coffee and at bedtime we debrief over the day’s events.  So, I am feeling a bit out of sync and disjointed by not having those times together in private.  And, the final difference is that I am serving with a different team of people.  This week, there are so many people that sometimes feel a lot overwhelmed.  The eagle group has presented numerous challenges – how to travel places with a van that only seats 12 (we have 17 people on our team), how to house every one’s food in the small refrigerator, how to keep track of everyone’s daily commitments, and how to ensure that everyone likes the work they are doing each day.  The last one is new for me.  During our last week of service, liking the work you were doing was not discussed as an option for finding other work assignments.  My family of seven went on whatever assignment our team leader, Linda, assigned us to.  Yes, I am certain my children found some jobs boring, mundane, tiring, hard, or whatever, but we had all agreed that we would not complain.  Tai, my sixteen year old stepdaughter broke that rule one morning.  While listening to our team leader, Linda, discuss the assignments Tai said, “Please don’t make me go alone with my dad today.”  At the time, I thought this was because the conversation was boring, but after working alongside my husband today, I know the reason she stated this.  This morning Mark invited me to work alongside him at the Head Start building.  Simee, Wayne and Oral had told him that two people were needed.  Mark was picked by the because he spent almost all of the first week of service working with them at the Head Start Building (In Babb, Heart Butte, and Browning).  Those groups figured out that Mark is hard working, non-complaining with a “can do” attitude, so they snapped him up.

So, today, after working with my husband all day at the Browning Head Start building, I discovered that the reason Tai didn’t want to be alone with her dad is because he works hard and doesn’t ever slow down.  Today we moved stainless steel sinks, counters, desks, shelving, walls and closets out of the kitchen and laundry room.  We then scraped “gunk” out of the crevices, nooks, and crannies on the floor.  I was reminded of Cinderella scrubbing floors with a toothbrush (or something like that).  I thought I was doing pretty well until Oral came behind me with a sharper scraper and showed me that there was still more to remove.  UGH.  So back I went to the task.  I am now the proud owner of blisters on my hands, sore biceps and forearms (from using elbow grease to get that gunk up), a throbbing back, raw fingers, and a stiff neck.  My husband on the other hand appears to be ready to run a marathon and has no aches and pains.  So, Tai, if you read this, please know that I “get” why you didn’t want to sign up for another day of hard labor with your day.  I, on the other hand, am a glutton for punishment and will be right back at those floors in the morning tomorrow.  Did I mention that Mark tor up some of the stained linoleum and proceeded to lay new tiles!  My job was to ensure the “puzzle pieces” would fit.  Of course, the tiles had to be cut down to size with a handy box cutter.

Although I would gladly go for the library inventory job or some other mundane, non-strenuous and boring assignment tomorrow, a small part of me looks forward to more “manual” labor along my husband.  At least I will be able to see the fruits of my labor once the floors are all waxed and shiny and ready for the youth of Browning to play on in the fall.  So, it is all worthit.  I signed up to serve in whatever way I am needed, and so I am.

(Pictures of floor will be uploaded soon)
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