Walked through our Resource Center yesterday.
I've learned to come here for soul-lift. So many people jammed into a much too small community center.
People of all ages, races, sizes, backgrounds, hometowns. All there together.
When I say "together," I really mean together.
The spirit of the place is amazing--not perfect, just amazing.
The people who show up for groceries, encouragement, rental assistance or whatever, present all sorts of attitudes and dispositions. The variations in "tone" can be intriguing to say the least.
Some are sad. One lady told me a few years ago, "Brother Larry, we carry our grief in buckets, we have so much of it. Everybody's lost something dear."Jobs, children, mates, homes, health--the loss list is staggering.
Some are downright mad. I'd be mad too if I had to depend on a place like ours for a significant part of my monthly food supply, especially after working a 40-hour week or watching my mate do so while I kept the kids and cleaned houses or took in the children of others while they worked.
Things should be different in this city.
Others are so joyful it makes me shake my head! Joy in the midst of almost abject, certainly pressing poverty. Amazing to watch, but it is there every time I walk through.
Our volunteers are busy, efficient, helpful and engaged--and 99% of them are labeled "poor" too--most are older folks, with the exception of the folks who are between jobs or assigned to us by the courts for community service. Funny how that often works out. Once their court assignment is served, many keep coming back to help out.
I've learned to tell homeless folks, "When you are ready for a change, just come here and hang out. Good things always seem to happen to the people who do."
Rainy day. Dreary actually. Busy, hectic, crowded, frustrating--but brimming with hope and friendship and meaningful connections for all of us.
It is the hope and friendship that really get to me. I typically brush away a tear or two as I talk to folks, play with their children and watch the devotion, genuine concern and compassion of our volunteers.
The people I talked to yesterday struggle. They are beautiful people. They are my friends. That's why I keep coming back.
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