Sunday, April 23, 2017

I didn’t think it would be like that.

I’m not exactly a stranger to ‘service’.

I know what its like to serve on the reservation, 
in soup kitchens, 
or on my job working with children in foster care.
I’m not a stranger to being called to serve ‘the least among us’.

I’m also blessed to be in a faith community 
where the impulse to serve is a shared value 
and bedrock of our understanding 
of who we are 
and who God is.
During a 'Mission Blitz Day' yesterday,
 I signed up to work at the Cathedral
putting out eggs, bananas, coffee and donated pastries and bagels for the homeless.

Frankly, I figured the biggest sacrifice 
would be getting up early on a rainy Saturday morning 
when every inclination was to sink back into my new pillow top mattress 
and sleep 'in' until 8AM.

But I didn’t 
and, despite the early hour, 
there was an abundance of riches that day -
from good friends to drive with and work beside
to a full supply of baked goods from a local business.

As folks came in out of the dank, grey, cold morning, 
they helped themselves to coffee and made their way to the pastry table where I was stationed.
Most were familiar enough with the ‘rules’ of getting one item - 
and then coming back after everyone had been served 
to see if there was enough for seconds. 
Their choices were deliberately made, 
with the frequently expressed hope that they could come back for another selection.

I noticed that the cookies were the first things to be chosen - 
M&M’s, oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, chocolate peanut butter and decorated shortbread - 
all were pointed to eagerly and received gratefully.

One young man came up, pointed to an oatmeal cookie 
and, as we made eye contact during the exchange, said 
“These remind me of home, when someone used to care about me.”
My heart broke open in that moment and my eyes filled with tears.
I wish I could say I was quick enough to have responded with
 “We care about you”. 
“God cares about you.”  
But I didn’t.

My mind and heart were too filled with the blinding realization 
that not only was every one of us in that room literally a child of God, 
but that a small child dwelled in each of us, 
longing to be cared about, 
desperate to feel loved and accepted as we make our way through 
what can be a hard and lonely life - 
until we finally make our way home again.

I didn’t say the right thing Saturday morning.
I’ll have to keep going, trying and serving until I get it right.

His words have echoed in my heart ever since he spoke them.

I didn’t think it would be like that.

No comments: