This week we had Mr. D for dinner. We’ve known him for several years now…but hadn’t seen him in a while until a few weeks ago at the Station. The Station is a church we’ve been a part of off and on and really love their vision. Love God. Love people.
The church started several years ago as a coffee shop for college kids downtown and morphed into a place where a homeless person might stop to get food…and then over time became a church where people eat dinner together and then study the bible. It’s beautiful.
Having babies and deployment hasn’t always made it the easiest for us to get down there, but part of our reboot as a family is to take baby steps in living the life we feel very compelled to live. It’s always easier to talk about how we want to live than to actually take a step and do it. It’s hard. It’s intimidating. And dealing with people in hard situations can be so messy. There’s no easy fix.
But the fix is not the answer or the goal. Loving them in tangible ways is.
It’s easy to buy flip flops or sunscreen or socks for a shelter. It’s a good and necessary thing. But it’s a gift to invite someone off the streets into your home, let them shower and put on clean clothes, feed them a home-cooked meal, take them out to a baseball game, and enjoy an evening.
There are so many sides to Mr. D we don’t know. But I did learn tonight he’s from Iowa. He has a son he’s never seen that lives there. He loves Jesus. He’s struggled with dependency. He’s 40+ days sober. He goes to church regularly. He’s a huge baseball fan. And the man can play piano so beautifully.
It’s hard not to feel guilty after such a great night of fun and relief from the heat, only to take him back downtown where he slept outside. In the hot. In the humidity. I hope this night was a great relief for him. I think moments of hope are found when we can sometimes forget our current heartaches and slip into a tiny oasis…where we see the beauty He’s planted within us. His gift of music, I think, is that place. To go to the place that brings us joy is sometimes what revives our hope. When I saw him playing piano, it was like he went into another realm. And smiled deeply.
This night showed me we’re moving a tad closer to the path we are craving to be on. I think Mr. D is also moving closer…many days of sobriety, being with positive influential people, trusting Jesus, encouraging others, being open to coming into our home. And for us…sometimes it’s uncomfortable. I won’t always know how to interact or dialogue. I cringed when Sam told Mr. D that he was dirty (he had just taken a shower). And then I tried to make light of it insisting that Sam was just being funny.
But the kids reminded me what little barriers there truly are with humans as they danced and asked for more when he played the piano. I loved watching community happen. It was a beautiful night.