On Wednesday, my husband and I went to help First Lutheran serve dinner to the hungry. It wasn't the Wednesday that my church takes care of this meal, but I knew that the First Lutheran folks were concerned because so many people might be out of town and they might be short-staffed.
As always, I felt honored to be there and split apart by the fact that there is so much need in the world.
On the way home, my husband told me of a conversation he'd had with a man who had been wearing the same pair of pants for 8 days and was desperate for a new pair. The church keeps a few items on hand, but nothing in his size.
I thought of all the clothes I have in my closet, and how few I wear. I wanted to bring them all to the church, but I know they have limited storage space.
I thought of churches like Luther Place in Washington, D.C. or the Sojourners community, places that either moved or found themselves in the abandoned places in the empire, where land was cheap and need was gaping. I thought of religious communities that have bought up rowhouses and turned them into medical clinics, thrift stores, food pantries. Down here in South Florida, however, land is not cheap, and even crumbling buildings cost a small fortune--even after the housing market has imploded.
I thought of buying a washer and dryer for every church, so that at least people can come and wash their one pair of pants for free. I know that most municipalities have such restrictive zoning that my vision might not be possible.
I thought of all the people I've met at First Lutheran as I've served them dinner, and how most of them seem like they could move from homelessness to something more stable. Very few of them seem to have mental health issues. We need someone with an affordable housing vision and the gumption to pull it off.
I thought of all the folks I've met at First Lutheran who have serious dental issues (most of them). I thought of my own aversion to the dentist and felt some shame.
Always in my head, I have the words of the Psalms as background noise, and one of the joys of Advent is having the voice of Isaiah join the Psalmists. Here is the darkness in which so many of us dwell. Here is the darkness that wants to overwhelm the light. I trust in the promise of God, that the light will come, that justice will be established, that the poor are not doomed to be hungry always.
I will do my part to straighten the crooked pathways. I pray for the power to carry on.
feeling the feelings…
10 months ago