Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Living on Grace Street
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 Street...it 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
Posted by JPG at 4:21 PM