We hungered to imagine a world where people could just eat together without anyone trying to rescue the other, without anyone more powerful or anyone more shamed.
I raised my sweater and put the baby to my breast, the still-thick rolls of my middle cushioning his tiny body as he slurped hungrily for his dinner. Around us, people milled about, flicking cigarettes into the grass to free their fingers for a plate and fork.
I’d given birth two weeks before entering the Catholic Worker movement. My body was broken and eaten at the same time as I tore crusts off loaves made by homeless hands.
Eucharist for all.
We hadn’t come to help, my partner and I. After two years as missionaries and three years as adoptive parents, we were more than aware of how utterly unhelpful we were. How unnecessary.
But we hungered.
We had looked up the address of the local Catholic Worker house not to save but to be saved.
We hungered for support and understanding – for friendships undeterred by the mess we were in or how broken we felt. We hungered to imagine a world where people could just eat together without anyone trying to rescue the other, without anyone more powerful or anyone more shamed. The evangelical world-view we’d once held had collapsed upon us and we were clawing our way out from the rubble. Hungry.
And so every few days I would come and sit on a hay bale between someone with an addiction and someone with a criminal record. We tore the crust off the loaf and passed it to each other while I breastfed my baby and learned what it was to let nothing be enough. Learned what it was to have nothing to give. Learned what it was to hunger.
In a place where we would all be fed.
Shannon K. Evans is an author and community member in the Catholic Worker in Ames, Iowa.