Fred is socially awkward. His personality disorder turns him inward, so he normally keeps to himself and doesn’t talk much. Usually he has his nose buried in his video player with headphones on. Most of my interaction with him is limited to a simple greeting: “Hello” or “Welcome.” He often doesn’t respond. Having said that, he is a stalwart at our Café (community lunch). Wednesday, as I walked into the Café, he approached me. Already I’m thinking, “This is odd.” In fact, this would be the longest conversation I have ever had with him, likely the first conversation I ever had with him.
Fred leaned in and said, “Can I have thirty seconds of your time?” We were getting ready to begin our daily community time, but I couldn’t turn down his request. We walked over to the side of the room. Fred began, “I know it probably doesn’t seem like I care about what happens around here, or what you are trying to do. I know you are always having to tell me to turn off my tablet and talk to somebody. But, I want you to know that I really appreciate what you are doing and that I pay more attention than you think. I want to be part of the community. I’m not telling you this to pat myself on the back, but today I bought several boxes of rice for Harry (our chef). I just want you to know that I appreciate everything and I want to give back and be a part.”
“Thank you so much for telling me that,” I replied. “It means a lot to me.” I reached out to shake his hand and that was the first time he ever touched me. “You are already a part of this community,” I assured him.
Because what we do is so counterintuitive I find it difficult to really explain to folks who we are and what we do. But sometimes an experience like this comes along that illustrates it perfectly. We are not a homeless ministry or a homeless anything. We are exactly what our vision says, “A diverse and intentional Christian community where everyone is welcome, belongs and discovers their gifts of service.” With Christ, we are in the business of reconciliation and life transformation. Like Fred, we want you to be a part of our community, too. You can participate physically (come and join us), spiritually (pray for us), or through your support (a financial partner). This is where we are located, you know how to pray, and this is where you can donate online.