Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Write Your Epitaph

"of whom the world was not worthy" Hebrews 11:38a

As a high school senior, I and my fellow students were charged with writing our epitaphs. It was rather a gruesome thought for a seventeen year old, but the exercise turned my focus outward, on what was truly important to me. To this day, I occasionally find myself questioning what people will remember about me. What will my legacy be? How will I be remembered?

You'll find much today encouraging us to "live big," because success is measured by how much attention it receives. But the most meaningful actions are often the most "meaningless," when it comes to bringing fame or "building important connections."

  • One regular donor makes items on behalf of the Mission. She is going to be celebrating her 90th birthday and has been donating for more than 20 years. Things like adult size quilts for our beds are especially needed.
  • One gentleman calls and asks what the most needed items are for the kitchen. He just purchases what he can, but he regularly meets immediate needs.
  • Some of our donors give every month and include notes of encouragement for staff, to assure us that they are praying for us. They write that they wish they could give more.

You may never know their names, but they are remembered, just as the "unnamed" heroes of Hebrews 11 are remembered. Their actions do not garner success or fame or much attention, but the results are read in the hearts and on the faces of women, children, and men in need.

How do you want to be remembered? In words of stone or letters on a computer screen? Or do you want your legacy to be reflected in the sudden smile of a child who is safe and sheltered; the softly spoken voice of a young woman as she prays with a staff person; the satisfied sigh of an elderly man as he sits down to a warm meal after walking the winter streets; or the tears of rejoicing as a mother gives her burdens to Christ...

What is your epitaph?

Monday, July 14, 2014

"Kids Can Be Kids"

Stopping in the day shelter on a quiet afternoon last Friday, I heard one of our moms reading aloud to her little boy as he crawled around in the child care room. It is a normal enough scene if not the normal "home" setting. However, I was sharply reminded of a recent conversation I'd had with another guest, about how the kids can be kids. She, a single woman, had no children but she spoke in amazement of how "normal" the children acted. I could understand her astonishment and echo her words of relief. While not all of us have had children, we have all been children. Childhood is such a precious time, and the experiences our young guests face, when they come to the shelter with their moms, could be one of deepest tragedy. Praise the Lord, they experience compassion and care. They are protected and they are loved. As is the case in every situation, kids add a measure of chaos, but "kids can be kids" here. And that is truly a wondrous thing. Thank you for your gifts, that enable us to provide food to eat and a safe haven of rest. But thank you most of all for your prayers that strengthen us and enable us to provide hope to those in need.