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.