I took a road trip to my hometown today so I have had plenty of time in the car to pray and think about life. I traveled here today to participate in an activity organized by Communitas Twin Cities that was held at a shelter for homeless families. We decorated pumpkins and enjoyed some snacks with a whole load of kids of various ages. It was a delight to join in. The kids blessed me way more than I blessed them, I’m sure.
Because of what we were doing tonight I thought a lot about my life when I was a kid. We were poor for most of my childhood. My stepfather would often spend his paycheck on certain non-essentials, leaving us with bare cupboards on more occasions that I care to say. Sometimes he would come home drunk and, depending on the circumstances, he could become violent. On more than one occasion, my mother had to pack us into the car quickly and take us to a friend’s house where we’d be safe for one or more nights. Then, when we knew that my stepfather had left to live somewhere else for a season or when we knew he’d calmed down, we’d return home.
I found myself expressing gratitude to God in the car today: gratitude for seeing me through some rough times, gratitude for providing people of mercy when a little tender loving care was needed. I was thinking about this because the folks we visited with tonight just need a little loving care, a hand of mercy, a chance to get back on their feet. Because of my past, I found I could identify with them.
The truth is we all need that sometimes: someone who will befriend us without judgment and condemnation. Someone who will take us in, no questions asked. Someone whose simple love will inspire us to be more than we have been.