Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

Archive for June, 2015|Monthly archive page

COLORS

In Poetry on June 29, 2015 at 12:51 am

 

multiracial hands

 

Does it make a

Difference whether

You’re black or white?

Is it a stereotype

You stink?

If you’re red

Does the description

That you’re a member

Of club med?

Stereotyping comes

In all sizes

Shapes and Colors

Each race gives

A stereotype about

One another.

If you are Chinese

You’re always eating

Rice, if you’re black

You’re from the South.

Open your eyes and

You will see the

Knowledge you can

Pass on to the

Next generation

To be.

-Nancy Moore

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Youth Group

In Keeping hope alive, Love on June 26, 2015 at 12:46 pm

rainbow electrical wires

Maybe not every person should be a parent.  There is no how-to-guide for new parents.  I believe that parenting is a day to day experience.  There is always something new to learn.  I also believe that it is a parent’s responsibility/job to nourish, care for, love, protect and support their child.

I was born and raised in St. Albans, Queens, New York.  The only child of Catherine and Robert Gibson, we lived with my mom’s aunt and her husband in a middle class neighborhood.  Everyone knew each other in my neighborhood.  It was a time when screen doors did not need to be locked.  The husbands worked as policemen, postal workers or NYC transit employees.  The wives were teachers, librarians or nurses.  When I was 2 years old my dad walked out on us.  So my mom stepped up and worked even harder and longer hours at the hospital.  But when my mom and I were together on her days off, we always had fun.  She always had me laughing until my sides hurt.  I especially remember our long walks on warm summer evenings and then cooling ourselves with Carvel cones.  My mom loved her ice cream.  My mom made sure I went to school every day and church every Sunday.  Our church was St. Albans Congregational Church.  My uncle was a deacon and my aunt a deaconess.  My mom was a member of one of the many clubs in the church.  Sometime after my confirmation, my mom volunteered me to be one of two young acolytes in the church.  I was also in the youth choir for a brief period.  My mom was strict, but I think she thought she needed to be.  My mom’s strength and love made me want to be a good mom like she was.

I almost lost my mom when I was 12 years old.  The week before Christmas my mom and our pregnant neighbor were on their way home from work when they were hit by an oncoming car.  The impact knocked my mom a block away.  On the operating table the surgeons lost my mom for a few seconds.  But God intervened and brought my mom back to me.  What a blessed gift! Our pregnant neighbor survived and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.  That was a hard time for both my mom and me.  But my mom got stronger and stronger and was finally released from the hospital.

During the years that followed my high school graduation, I worked as an administrative assistant in such areas as publishing, advertising and insurance.  Going to work and attending church on Sundays to thank God for my blessings, that was my way of life.

My own unplanned pregnancy in 1983 was a special blessing from God but I didn’t figure that out right away.  There was fetal distress during labor.  The umbilical cord was wrapped around my baby’s head, cutting off its oxygen supply.  But for the Grace of God a healthy baby girl was delivered to me.  I was also blessed to have my mom help me raise my daughter who I named Tolanya Janelle Gibson.  I did my best to make sure her childhood had as much fun and love as mine did.

I soon realized I was blessed with a very bright little girl.  She was an A student throughout her school years.  Tolanya’s grades were eagerly accepted at Columbia University here in NY.  Her major was Electrical Engineering.  During her freshman year Tolanya did not socialize much.  She was always in the library or in her dorm room.  On her visits home she seemed more to herself; quiet.  I noticed severe weight loss and she looked sad at times.  I then realized that once again I needed to remind my daughter that I would be there for her if she needed to talk.  While in my 50’s I suddenly found myself the care taker for my mom the last 7 years of her life.  Not an easy job taking care of a parent; especially if that parent suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.  But God lifted my mom up a little while longer because he knew I would need her help.

Sometime during Tolanya’s junior year she told me that she was gay.  I reassured my daughter that not only would I always be there for her – no matter what she decided; but also that she was my “world” and that I would take a bullet for her.  And then she told me something I never thought I would hear my daughter say.  She told me that she was thinking of killing herself.  It was as though the building we were in had crumbled down around us.  I suggested she sign up to see an “on campus” therapist.  She did and it helped her immensely.

Tolanya graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 2005.  Continuing on her educational journey, Tolanya began her graduate program at The University at Buffalo.  Her research included Nanophotonics and nonlinear optics.  But with my daughter even more isolated up there in Buffalo I prayed for her non-stop.  One day in 2009 Tolanya called me from Buffalo to say that she was thinking about starting testosterone shots.  My mind kind of swirled for a few seconds as I tried to grasp this new revelation.  All I could say was “What, why?”  She then explained that she felt like a male in a female’s body.  And that she wanted to begin her transition from female to male.  Transgender was not a new word for me since Cher Bono’s son made his transitioning public.  But I did sob after the phone call.  To think, my own daughter carried such a heavy load alone.  Knowing that she had thoughts of suicide paralyzed me.  How could I have not known?  What kind of parent was I that my child suffered alone?  Feeling somewhat deficient I asked God to help me be an even better parent in order to help my daughter.

Around this time the Lord led me to Holy Apostles.  It was my first time experiencing a holy Eucharist and it uplifted me into a new realm of calm.  At Holy Apostles I also discovered the rewards from volunteering at the soup kitchen.  In addition, my own therapist helped me work through my feelings of inadequacy.  But the journey for me was kind of rocky since I was still mourning the loss of my mom.

So, Tolanya chose 4 new names, emailed them to me and asked me which one I liked the best.  And the name we both agreed on was Ethan Asher Gibson.  Ethan quickly changed his name on all of his records.  He graduated in 2012 with a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering.  He moved back home here in our one bedroom apartment.  Many small minded neighbors who knew my mom and even remember my son growing up here would roll their eyes upon seeing him going in or out of our building.  A gay slur could be heard while they gossiped amongst themselves.  Some even stopped speaking to me in passing and would turn their heads the other way.  I began to read the 37th psalm morning and night.  Ethan had his top surgery done last August and made a full recovery.

My mom used to tell me many times that “God never gives us more than we can bear”.  And here I am.  I am a cat mom.  I am a soup kitchen volunteer and I am the parent of a transgender man. I surrender all of my love and support to him on a daily basis.  I am proud of all of his accomplishments and proud that he is my son.

-Linda Gibson

FREE WRITERS’ WORKSHOP PUBLIC READING

In Uncategorized on June 15, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Soup+Soul Logo - Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen(High res)

We invite you to hear stories and poetry about resilience, hope and humanity at our annual reading of creative works written by our soup kitchen guests. 

June 25th at 7 pm

Church of the Holy Apostles

296 9th Avenue, (At 28th Street)

New York, New York  10001

Refreshments will be provided

An Anthology will be available for purchase

HONEY FOR THE SOUL

In Uncategorized on June 12, 2015 at 5:58 pm

honey4

 

No man is an island, no man stands alone.

Life has a way of sucking you in and shooting you out, in some circumstances that causes you to feel alone, like an outcast.

You might look together on the outside, calm and serene.

But your circumstances cause you to fell like you’re falling apart. Concerned about the future in desparate need of help, but don’t know how to ask for the help your really need.

No man is an island, no man can really stand along. People need each other, some one you can confide in, trust to pour your heart out. But what if you’re too afraid to trust because of past experience? This is what I do, I pick up the bible and read the psalms. There is a psalm in the bible that fits every and any situation you and I can face. I get great comfort and peace when I do this.

Praying is also another way I get comfort. It’s a dialogue with God. Talk to him like you talk to a friend, and listen to his voice, he might lead you to a scripture in the bible, to comfort you. We need each other and the word of God. No man is an island, no man stands alone.

-Judith Williams

FUTURE ME?

In Uncategorized on June 12, 2015 at 4:51 pm

bumblebee2

Will I be pretty

little buzzing bee,

bumbling about

that all may see?

A poet, a prophet,

a miser, a bum

A recluse who languishes

under the sun?

When does it happen?

With what moves have I grown?

What must I learn?

Whom must I own?

Will I be rich

In fortunes or love?

Will ALL finally hit me

Like a heavyweight’s glove?

My future’s not mine to behold

Whatever will be I am told

Nevertheless I trudge on just the same

Yearning no less to win at this game

-Stephanie Lawal

The Sloth

In Prose on June 10, 2015 at 6:00 pm

sloth

I am irate. I have feet and claws. What do you mean I can’t walk fast? You idiots just zip on by here in the jungle. Like what’s the hurry? Do you think getting it done fast means getting it done better? And what’s with the staring, like you’ve never seen a bipodal furry mammal in the jungle before. These claws can shred your face, cleanly, slowly I killed a vulture with these claws once. And what’s with these vultures? They even have a stupid recipe: Catch a sloth out of a tree Peck it to death Mix it with dead fish and insects And then a whole bunch of them flying creeps Swarm and eat Do I look edible? I just take my time hanging around on the trees I like those nice sweet flowery fruits I don’t like those eco-tourists, though Their light boxes are too bright, too sudden I just show them my fur and crawl to the next branch. Sometimes me and my girl just like hanging together so she says I smell bad, so I dropped into the river and my fur gets wet – and I notice these small fish with white teeth like my claws. About 20 of them start biting – and I swat them off- but those damn fish took some of my fur off. My girl starts laughing until I tell her to drop into the river too – maybe those damn fish will polish her claws. So much for getting wet, let me swing out of here.

-Thomas Clarke