I doubt that Mother Teresa would build a playground like ours. It is clearly a first world playground. Having said that, there are certainly a number of things about the playground of which she would have wholeheartedly approved.
First and foremost, Mother Teresa would approve of loving and taking good care of children. She would promote a culture which values life and has a deep-seated desire to do good for The Father’s children. I pray that is the essence of our playground.
Though it’s only Wednesday there have been several things this week in the construction process in which Mother Teresa would have delighted. We had a mat construction crew here which originated out of New York State. They were very hard-working men whose job was more complicated than it originally appeared. The chalk lines reminded me of the process for laying ceramic tile. The tiles were all a little bigger than the space between the lines to allow for contraction of the tiles in the winter and expansion in the summer. The men were of Hispanic origin, Arturo was the foreman. He was a delightful man with a heart for people. We checked on his daily progress. It was not uncommon for the perimeter of the playground to be lined with youthful observers who were always welcomed.
Saturday’s “community build” was a blessing. Kurt Daberkow recommended the day and made remote plans for it from the early meetings. When I asked him on Sunday evening how it went as we looked at the equipment, his response was adamant: It was a true example of teamwork. He said the foreman from Miracle really knew what he was doing, and had no issue with keeping 40 capable workers profitably occupied. The Knights of Columbus teamed up with many of our parents to complete the project by 6 pm. Thanks for working together well, reminding me of the Kingdom where we will all be working together to praise the Lord!
Mother Teresa, in union with the Church, promotes the dignity of the human person as we are all created by God in His image and likeness. Can you imagine those men’s job? How hard to be on the road so much, away from home. From here they go to Chicago, then Indianapolis, then back here Saturday to seal our tiles. A little kindness seemed in order. On Monday one of our parents brought some sandwiches and about 45 second graders took them lunch. Four carried the card table. A child or two took each chair. Five kids transported sandwiches. Five more carried chips. Four kids were the beverage cart with bottled water. Five kids took napkins (OK here we were scraping for jobs). One had the trash bag. Several held the doors along the way. In the end we were only a couple jobs short of having something for everyone to do. By the time the last ones got out there the first group had the table and chair set up nicely in the shade and soon everything was set.
The gentlemen were thrilled with lunch. We were going to get a picture. Arturo wanted a picture also to send to his family. It was a good day.
Later another group took him cookies and a drink. We wanted to get everyone we could in the act. We witnessed to kindness. Mother Teresa did that every day many times.
During one of the recesses one of the workmen was headed to the trailer to get some supplies when the soccer ball came his way. We didn’t know we had a soccer player among our workers. He enjoyed those few minutes of dribbling the ball around with the kids. Sister Mary Angela was out there for that scene and she said his smile couldn’t have been broader.
Mrs. Seigrist took advantage of the opportunity to practice Spanish. She went out with several groups and prayed with the children and the men. Sometimes the children needed a script which she had readily provided. The kids had an opportunity to ask a couple questions. It was also fun for the children to listen in to a short lively and meaningful conversation between Mrs. Seigrist and the workers.
I think mother Teresa would’ve also enjoyed the blessing of the playground. The gathering was prayerful, invoking the Father’s goodness on the project, along with thanking the many donors for their help. We blessed the playground as the last tiles are being installed so that the blessing could be there before the play began. “Run the race so as to win….”, the reader proclaimed…..Father Townsend used the asperges to sprinkle us with the blessing that reminded us of the Polish broom. There was no broom but we were thoroughly blessed. When we arrived for the blessing the workmen were busy finishing up. As we began, they, too, made the sign of the cross and a couple of them knelt down joining us in the blessing. The unity of our faith was evident.
After the blessing, as the workers were preparing to leave, Arturo asked if he could pray in the church for a few minutes. I said, “of course, that’s what the church is there for! ” I had one last item to retrieve and said I would meet him back there. A few minutes later I went over to church and saw one man kneeling at the communion rail praying. He had on a bright orange shirt; Arturo’s shirt was black both days. I got the feeling that the chief always wore a black shirt. Wondering if that was him, I went up to the front of the church where I could see and knelt down to pray until he finished. He stayed there quite some time and when he left I met him in the vestibule thanked him again and gave him the information. With heartfelt gratitude Arturo spoke of what a blessing it was to work at our church and school. The kindness we had given was obviously recognized and received with gratitude. God be praised in the simple giving and receiving among His people! Yes, Mother Teresa would be pleased.