Last night late I came home from the church where I had been preparing Thanksgiving Dinner for 350. I had spent the day mixing dressing, salad, and shepherd’s pie. I smelled like food, I was limping from being on my feet. The phone rang and Hunter needed to talk, and so he comes by. As I closed my eyes I thought of my grandmother, as she prepared her Thanksgiving meal, and looking tired, but had so much joy in her heart, for she was preparing for her family, and she has passed down that legacy to me.

Twenty five years ago I was on the street sin Hollywood, and I felt so alone, suicidal, and there was one young man, a prostitute himself, who said to me, “family are those who stick with you.”  And Christ has stuck with me, ultimately he is our only family, and in him the world becomes our family.

What blood family I have are distant, we never see each other, when we do  they want to talk about a history I have no interest in, with no sense of connection; my family through the years have been Marilyn, my first boss out of prostitution, who still loves me in spite  of myself, Vicki, Kevin, Mary, Keenan, Cindy and Karen who for whatever reason both love and hate me; there is St. Luke’s Episcopal Church who has shown me so much love, and allows me to prepare this meal in their kitchen,  and my family are the people I am serving.  My friends in Albuquerque want me to move to be near them, and say, “There are homeless here,” but the reality is the homeless there are not the homeless here, many I have walked with for over twenty two years, for they are my family. The food we serve today is being served to my family–and they are as much my family as any blood relatives I have ever had. Each year I write a thank you note to all who give money to Temenos, and as you know I am not the best pen man, but each note is written with love because I am writing to family, for each person who gives are a part of my family, you know my warts and yet you give, some for over twenty years.

What I have learned  on this journey is that we are all family, and at the head of the table is our brother Jesus, and our Father. So today I wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving, and “May the Lord bless you and keep you; May the Lord lift up his face upon you and grant you peace, now and always.”

Fr. River Damien Sims

Temenos Catholic Worker


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