I am a terrible blogger. I admit that. I want a blog to be able to connect, share, and tell stories, yet I abuse my poor blog. I let it sit for months, alone and boring, waiting for words to be added.
Let me fix this.
Busy: morning sport, cleaning, lectures, one-on-ones, small group, emails, dance, drama, dishes, laundry, movies, feeding homeless.
Travel: Newcastle, Melbourne, Australian bush.
People: 10 students – Brazilian, Australian, American; visitors – New Zealand, Germany; babies – 1 month, 8 months
Pet: 10 week old kitten
Weather: cold, rain
That is a lot of my life right now. Very full, very unexpected.
Last night was our weekly outreach at the Salvation Army program: Do Unto Others (DUO). The night runs fairly smoothly. Clients start coming in around 5pm, dinner is served at 6pm, the coffee bar and donuts opens at 8pm and so does the relax room where people can sleep for a couple of hours. We fill the evening with handing out clothes, showing movies, setting up video game machines, and wandering around for conversations.
The more time I spend here, the more I realize how much people want the chance to open up and share. I spent maybe 30 min or so talking with a guy who is a proud pagan. I was really excited to see him at DUO. A few of us met him on the streets a couple of weeks ago when we went out on the KONY/Cover the night. You could easily pick this guy out of a crowd: dark clothing, spiked collar around the neck, black painted finger nails. The kind of guy that you skirt around because his appearance makes you uneasy.
I was told that he has been coming to DUO for a few weekends. Me, I was super excited to see him. I know he’s a pagan – he doesn’t want anything to do with Christians, yet here he is, sitting at the salvos (salvation army), with a cup of coffee, watching people. That’s what he does – watched people. He wants to see how they will respond to him, how they will or won’t look at him, how they will treat him.
I slowly worked my way over, chatting with others here and there, and finally sat down across from him. I don’t remember how the conversation started. I try to find a simple way of small talk – music, sport, something of the like, then at some point ask the person their name. Not too far in to the conversation, he started sharing why he dresses the way he does. He likes to see how people react. He wants to make them squirm and using his words, “he’s out there.” Shortly after sharing this, he shared how he was shy and was teased as a kid. He also shared about being in a foster home and how his parents didn’t want him, and that it would almost be better to be back in jail.
All I really did was sit there and let him talk. I could see how much he has been hurt. I could hear it in his words and see it on his face for brief seconds, till he went back to twirling the skull rings on his fingers. He wants so badly to be accepted and loved he tries to scare others so he has something to control, something that makes him feel stronger and important.
The whole time I was thinking about how crazy is it that I get to sit here and see the people that Jesus loves and wants so dearly for them to receive him. I thought about how Jesus sat with the unwanted. How he was ridiculed for doing so but that didn’t stop Jesus.
I hope I will get the chance to sit again.