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Month: February 2019

Scents & Sounds

Scents & Sounds

It’s a fully immersive experience; sitting in a homeless shelter. The scent is overwhelming. Ripe. The sounds of bodily functions and snoring abound.

Low barrier ministry; folks are loaded. A gentleman is rolling around on the floor, far off of his mat. Hoping he doesn’t wet himself tonight.

Most are grateful to be out of the below freezing temperatures. A safe place to rest. Perhaps clean up in the bathroom. Wash some clothes. Refresh one’s physical body. Restore some dignity.

She was distraught upon arrival. Her face severely scratched. Sat with her. Prayed with her. She took three fistfuls of pills nonetheless. Had to call 911. She began insulting us for allowing her to take so many pills. Let us know how stupid we were. Ended up leaving abruptly. Only to be followed by the paramedics. Praying she gets the needed professional help. At least for tonight.

These folks are truly torn up. Covered in their own filth in some cases. Hungry and cold, with no place to lay their head at night. In our current culture, this is the least. They are alone in this world.

In my ignorance I ask silly questions to myself. Like, where are your families? How did you end up sleeping on the street? How long have you been unhoused? How are you keeping a job while sleeping on the streets? Where do you shower? Clean your clothes? Where do you get your food?

What can we do for these suffering children of God? So many of them are addicted. Mentally ill. Some with disabilities. We have two blind men, and three hearing impaired guests.

We can open our doors to them. Extend kindness and hospitality. Even in a shelter setting. It’s in our intent behind the act. Folks know if we care or not. They feel it.

Lord, may I love the unlovable. Befriend the friendless. And earnestly minister to those in the margins. Help me to live these aspirations out in tangible practical ways, so that they are more than just platitudes. I want a life lived for Jesus. May I reflect His shining light to a dark world.

I Choose

I Choose

A few months ago, my physician recommended a plant based diet. My numbers were pre-diabetic, with high cholesterol. After prescribing the standard meds, I lost my mind a bit. The idea of being old enough to require medication for my physical health…it was quite a blow to my waning vanity.

So I attempted this vegan diet. Lasted 7 weeks. Lost 20 pounds. Never been so sad in my life. I would give up on my salad, sitting across from someone with a plate full of ribs. What’s the point? The joy of food was no more.

I enjoy cooking for my husband. For my family. I appreciate the domestic expression of love. The act of serving something delicious for the senses.

My husband does not eat vegetables. He has an aversion to all things health food. He lives on meat. Cheese. Bread. Pasta. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

So here I am eating plant based; preparing meat based dishes for family. Too much. I felt deprived. I could not cook the very foods that were forbidden, and remain solvent in my new diet. I absolutely failed. I have conceded; taking the medication.

Aging has proven to present game changing challenges. To go from being called cute little wahine, to being asked if I have grandchildren. That’ll humble the heck out of you. It did for me.

In certain ways, I sense the freedom. My looks are no longer a factor. I won’t fall victim to our overtly sexist culture.

And then The Lord asks me to look deeper. Step beyond the exterior. Lean into the state of my heart. Remembering that no one cares. Simply a latent manifestation of a deeply dyfunctional upbringing. Was taught that a women’s worth was directly correlated to her exterior beauty. I have believed this lie for most of my life.

I am getting older. I need glasses. My hair is greying. My double chin and neck wrinkles are more prominent this year, than they were last year. I take medication for my physical health. Ugh.

I have grieved the loss of my external beauty over the last five years. If I choose to buy into the propaganda, I am rendered overlooked at best. There is always a choice. In every season, we are offered options.

I choose to see my aging as something other than what our culture tells me. Rather, I choose truth. I am a creation of the Creator himself.