Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Living on Grace Street

I finally, after many years of following Christ, have understood the nature of grace.  I've learned, at long last, that I don't have to pummel my day into submission, making sure that every single thing goes just exactly my way and every person does just what I want.  No, that notion serves only to totally frustrate me and annoy everyone else.  I have to constantly remind myself of my state of grace.  When I am living in that, I don't have to get perturbed by minor annoyances and the perpetually snarled travel in my area.

This morning the gray skies came back!  However, I reminded myself that I lived in the grace of God and the gray was okay.  I started doing paperwork at home, a privilege if there ever was one, and then was called into the office.  Rain + Downtown Tunnel = frustration and delays, but after grumbling a little, I returned to calm.

I called the office to advise that I hadn't moved in 20 minutes and was turning around to take an alternate route down Military Highway and over the Gilmerton Bridge.  When I arrived there, traffic on the Gilmerton didn't move at all for, you guessed it, 20 minutes.

This time someone called me.  Thinking that it was someone questioning how long it was taking for me to come in, I tensed up.  Grace again, this time in the guise of a colleague who said, "Don't worry, I've got you covered,"

I went back to my original plan for the day, which was to see how Mr. B. was doing and verify that he was in compliance with his legal requirements.  I listened to Bible teaching on the way over.  I prayed that I would be a blessing.

Mr. B. was pretty despondent and it seemed that I had arrived at exactly the correct time.  If I had gotten in to the office, I would have been bogged down with taking care of issues there.  I wouldn't have made it to Mr. B's house for several hours later.

When I tell folks what I do, they think that I have a very difficult, dangerous job.  I have to admit that about 10% of the people I deal with are both difficult and dangerous.  Mr. B's not one of them.  He is someone who has a mental illness.  He has had a very hard life and was grief stricken over personal  losses  as well as his past mistakes.

I think I might have felt overwhelmed by his deep pain a year ago.  However, now that I live on Grace Street, I know (really know deep down) that God's grace is sufficient for me.  Grace is further with me in that I can share Christ on the job in so many ways without breaking any rules.

The folks I am privileged to work with are the lepers of 2013.  Society covers them with a label, decides that they are beyond redemption, and basically considers them throw-away people.  They are not.  And I know that if Jesus walked the earth today, he would be among them with love and not condemnation.

I left Mr. B. after a half hour.  We dug out the large print Bible a pastor had given him.  He looked up at me, using my title, and said "Please recommend where I should start reading today."  I answer a lot of questions all day, but this was the best question EVER.

Last Friday, I met with a man who had been in prison for many years.  He was developmentally delayed and had schizophrenia.  While in prison he somehow fell (in circumstances which are probably best not thought about), broke his neck, and severed his spinal cord.

The Department of Corrections released him to a nursing home.   He still has to fulfill statutory requirements, I explained everything I was doing for him in the simplest way possible, as I took fingerprints and a picture.. When I was leaving his room, he smiled a big toothless grin at me and managed to say, "Thanks."  He doesn't talk a lot, but showed me grace in the effort it took for him to say that.

Grace is where I want to live all the time.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:35 -40

Monday, October 14, 2013

Here in VA we are seeing our first glimpse of sun in about a week.  Talk about 50 shades of gray...that's all we've been seeing for days:  pearly gray, slate gray, charcoal gray, gray skies, grey -looking water in all the creeks and rivers all around just, um, gray.

If Hampton Roads (or Tidewater depending on what you call it) Virginia was a color card at Benjamin Moore last week, it would look like this:

All week long.  Alllllll weeeeeeeeeek looooooooooooooooong.

Today, partly cloudy is lookin' pretty good!

Friday, October 11, 2013

No Matter What, Trust God

Oh my gosh, did I fall down laughing when I received this emailed pic. The "Karate Kid" you see here on the railroad tracks is my sweet Lauren from next door.  She's away serving her county right now, but sent this to me.

Lauren and Liz moved in next door after Genesis and her family were evicted.  I mourned over that, but then God firmly let me know that the time for crying was over.  What a delight "the girls" as we call them have been to us.

Lauren is one of the most joyful and spontaneous people I have ever met.  She had told me that she was looking for a rocking chair for the front porch of her Craftsman bungalow which used to be the mother-in-law's house for my house.

Somehow she found a rocker.  I don't know about your area, but here in mine, folks put handmade religious signs along the side of the road.  Sometimes they even paint the side of a barn with "God loves you" or something like that.  I guess Lauren temporarily pulled one up and set the rocker on the railroad tracks.  This is typical of her fey and impish sense of humor,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding

Proverbs 3:5