Thursday, October 28, 2010

Crossing Paths

Sometimes I wonder why certain people cross our paths, and why they seem to hijack our brains and we can't let them go. Day after day we come across so many people but every once in a while we meet someone with whom we have an instant connection. Me, being an extreme introvert, doesn't connect with people very often, but when I do, it's almost magnetic. Like at church, there have been so many nice people I have met over the last six years, and many older ladies who are fabulous mother figures (since my own parents are a province away), but only one older lady to whom I have felt a very strong bond, and it doesn't even really make sense considering I see others far more often than I see her, but this lady grabbed ahold of my heart from the moment I met her. She likely doesn't even know, and I'll probably never tell her. I wonder though, why her and not the others?

And of course at the Mustard Seed, where hundreds come in every day, and I'm polite and smile to all of them, but there are a few that have grabbed my heart to the point where I'm wondering if God has sent them with a purpose. It doesn't make sense that a person I don't even know could enter my brain and never exit, a person who I see for a few hours a week (or every other week), but who occupies my thoughts and dreams and leads me to think about life pathways that were never in any five year plan I could imagine.

There must be a reason.....I can't believe that we come together by pure coincidence.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

She Smiled!

Driving to the Mustard Seed on Tuesday nights is a great time to talk to God. Usually we discuss the people and their circumstances, and last night I was anxious as I drove because it was the first cold Tuesday of the season. My heart breaks enough for these people when it's warm outside, and I couldn't imagine them being out in the cold....and it's not even really that cold yet. But God reminded me that they had been living that way long before I came into the picture, and my job is not to feel sorry for them, but to provide a friendly face and maybe offer some hope.

And so I thought about one lady in particular who comes in almost every week. She never thanks me for a plate, and takes it with almost a sneer on her face. I know she loves her sweets, but when we run out of her favorites, the sneer comes back. But there was something about her, something that made me think she had some smiles on the inside, and I made it my mission last night to make her smile.

I saw her as she came up the plate line, and as I gave her a plate I said hello. She didn't smile, but started a conversation about the weather, and she had never spoken to me in the plate line before. Okay, I thought, that's a start. Later, at the coffee bar, she came over to ask about leftovers, and I can't remember what I said to her, but I did catch a hint of a smile, and then it was gone. However, that lead to further conversations later in the evening - how she was likely diabetic and would find out the next day if it was type 1 or 2, and that conversation will lead to more next week, because of course I need to find out her prognosis.

My experience with her last night reminded me that even though people may seem crusty on the outside, we never know what is going on inside of them. Everyone has a story. No one is a mere mortal.

The holy spirit continues to stir things inside of me that I don't want to acknowledge, because they are way too far out of my comfort zone and way too big of a project in my tiny brain. I was stirred as I chatted with two community members about the upcoming art show and decided that I really have to attend. I was stirred as I listened to karaoke, and each week more and more people try to convince me to sing (but I never will!). I was stirred as the people gathered their blankets and headed out into the cold, and by my crazy-haired friend who came in for a coffee, smiled, and headed off into the night.

I wonder if everyone who works at The Mustard Seed feels the way I do.

I sure hope so.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Everything Comes Back to Star Trek

I've been thinking about Edith Keeler a lot today.

Holy Spirit, you are making me uncomfortable.


Oh my aching heart - what a week it has been. Since I found out that the "Gideon" on a friend's blog was the grandson of our Senior Pastor, I have been praying like never before, talking to God in open language ("Come on God, you can DO this!" - like He needs encouragement from me), and just thinking that if we all prayed hard enough, a miracle could occur, that a baby only a few days ago was headed to Heaven would grow and prosper and live out his purpose. So far, we are still waiting, but Gideon continues to fight and the story is already an amazing one of faith and God's unending love. What has been a teary rollercoaster for me is likely unimaginable for his family, and so I continue to pray non-stop, as we should always, but rarely ever do.

And then there was last night, Tuesday, at The Mustard Seed. Each week my heart is gripped by the people who walk in the door - Darryl, who had walked from Whyte Ave to eat but left his fiance there because she was tired. They are homeless and their truck was stolen a few weeks ago. There is the nameless guy (only because I have yet to ask him his name) who told me how he used to be a mathematical genius until he drank too much, and now at 45 he doesn't think he can get it back. The guy who seemed cheery but told me he is lonely and depressed because he has nowhere to live and no family or friends. He spent Thanksgiving walking around, and expects Christmas to be the same. He left with a blanket and a warm jacket to weather out the night...and it's not even cold yet. The guy who took three water bottles to his "destination of choice" as he called it, and asked if I knew anything about the new ID for homeless people. And the one that sticks in my mind the most, the young guy with the crazy unkempt hair, who introduced himself by asking me if I had a Scottish background, and then asked me to dance during karaoke. Of course I had to decline as there were leftovers to be served, and we're not supposed to touch the community members anyway (sigh), but I wondered why he asked - someone else lonely and depressed?

I can't stop thinking about all of the people I talked to last night, and wishing I could go find them right now to make sure they are okay. I never thought my heart would ache so much for people I don't even know, people who just see me as one of the many faces who serves them coffee night after night - I'm no one special to them, but they are so special to me.

I keep thinking that someday I will be doing more for them than just serving coffee and handing out plates, but it's not in my vision yet, although I know it's in God's.

The Lord will fulfill His purpose in me.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Morning

It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood, as Mr. Rogers would say - the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the air is ripe with the smell of falling leaves. I went for a "brief" run this morning (only an hour - brief when compared to the half marathon I'll be attempting next Monday!) and it was gorgeous and crisp, and a big bird scared the heck out of me as I went down onto the trails, but it was so breathtaking down there.

Before I went for my run, I woke up at about 630 (thanks to the parents for the "morning person"genes - I can't sleep in!). My first thought was to have a chat with God - my brain has some inner turmoil and I'm trying to sort it out. Usually I can step out of my brain and analyze the problem, and figure out the root of the conflict. This time, however, my logical process is not working, so I asked God if He could help me sort out the problem. I fell back asleep and He sent me a dream.

I was walking down a street with Scott, and there was a lineup of Mustard Seed people. Maria was there (she works at The Mustard Seed every night), and they had separated the people into two lines - one line was sober, and the other line was not. I asked her how she handled them every night, and she said she had lots of training. Scott wanted to move along down the street (I'm not sure where we were headed), so off we went.

We stopped at a bench and sat down, and I found some papers with an old cheque and a ten dollar bill. I thought it had fallen out of my pocket, and as I looked at it again, the ten dollar bill was accompanied by five dollar bills. I thought my eyes were deceiving me, and the next time I looked, there was also a hundred dollar bill. I exclaimed to Scott, "The money is multiplying and I'm not even kidding!" I thought of the people in line, and of course there were favorites that I wanted to give the money to, but I couldn't, because that would be favoritism and could cause a problem.

Right now I'm not sure why God sent this dream to me as an answer to my internal conflict. This week is an awesome week for the Mustard Seed as Thursday will be their annual radio-thon. I'm going down there as soon as I drop the kids off at school, and will stay to help with Bingo, card games, and to serve lunch. I can't wait!!

For this week, I'll enjoy the warm autumn days, have a few more chats with God, hang out with the Mustard Seed gang, and see if the answers come into my head.

I have faith that the answer is close.