Today I’m excited because this is the time of year when my church hosts a homeless shelter in our town. By that I mean we set up cots in one of our church buildings and have about forty-five guys stay over. There are women too, but we don’t host them this time, another church takes care of them. We’ll do it for a week and then they’ll move on to another church for a week, and so on and so forth through the spring until the weather warms up. It’s nice that we do this here, all the churches banding together to provide the housing. There are other organizations like the Salvation Army that are the first-line shelters, however when they fill up (which they always do) then the churches take care of the folks. And in a world that’s so separated by beliefs both religious and political, and economic too, it’s nice that people with such different beliefs can come together to help support the very least of us.
I really don’t do much though.
I do an overnight, which I’ll do during the week. And I’m always open to whatever else may need to be done. There are quite a few people involved. This year I was asked to help out tonight, which is the first night and the “welcome” night, so I’ll help serve the dinner which really is a matter of helping to set up a buffet for when the guys get there, then clean up afterwards and whatnot.
And yes make people feel welcome too.
The reason I even bring it up is I’ve been thoughtful lately about what makes a family as this is the time of year that one thinks more so about such things. And although I do certainly love my family, I do have a talent for making do with an extended family in my community as well, and for some reason really do get along best with those who have suffered and are challenged most. It’s just a strong suit of mine and one I’d never trade in for anything. I have a thing for flawed people. I’m not sure if it’s because there have been times when I personally have been truly down-and-out, much more so than many, and can totally relate. Or if it’s because when you have nothing more to lose you’re more accepting and responsive to kindness and less judgmental and have nothing to fear and I can sense that and it resonates.
Lots more “traditionally successful” people who I run into on a daily basis just seem so guarded and boxed in it’s unnerving.
So being we’re into the holiday season, I’m really happy for the opportunity to serve others. I don’t think it’s noble at all, that’s not my point. Although I do have to say it makes me feel good. And not in some kind of feel-good-bleeding-heart kind of way either. On the contrary, I think I’m lucky to have the chance to do it. The blessing’s for ME. And it must be because most of the time I feel homeless in my soul. So this all reminds me exactly where my home is.