I’m often given good advice; I’m often bad at listening.
Autumn is beginning to set over North Carolina. The day hung heavily overcast in the lower 60s. it rained most of the day; which is just a drizzle that comes and goes. It’s nice, but also annoying. This time of year always carries a certain degree of nostalgia with it, and I cannot tell whether it is the abrupt change, or maybe it is when my heart feels itself come to life. This time last year, I was sitting on a dock in Northern Idaho, I had finished a hiking trip only a few days before to seek clarity on my plans for the coming year. I listened, I waited, I lived.
I loaded my car and followed the calling in my heart to Dallas. I miss Dallas. It was a good time for me; something that was my own – a step, a move of independence, a realization – I worked with Our Calling with the homeless in the Deep Ellum neighborhood for two weeks. I would sit outside of the little warehouse with the guests and we’d talk about the weather, about the city, and about the cars driving by on the highway. The afternoons were calm. I felt so at peace in a situation that would have made me uncomfortable before. I think the love of Jesus is that way. You never understand it until you put it on. It’s like a jacket on a cold winter night, that doesn’t make you warm until you put it on.
At night I’d grab a cup of coffee and head back north to Denton. I remember being stuck in traffic and I actually didn’t mind it at all. I’d look at the city lights glow and change as I drove around the buildings. It was such a strange beauty in a such a new place. I made a lot of friends in the city and all of them were deep and real relationships.
Things change. My goal in Dallas was to learn how to establish relationships with the homeless. I packed my conviction and headed home at 2am on a Tuesday morning. I stopped in different towns along the way and met friends. Drank coffee with strangers. I took a walk in Nashville through some parks and part of the city and I met a well-to-do lady walking two fancy dogs in conversation with a homeless man on a bench. I jumped into the conversation as the man started talking about Shakespeare. We crossed our swords over The Merchant of Venice and I asked him how the city was. It turned into an hour and a half discussion on homelessness in the city. I felt so pumped when I returned home.
I realized the beast is harder to tackle. I have seen some great things since I have been back and i have been in some dangerous situations. But have I been diligent? Charlotte has no shortage of provision for the poor. It’s a good city to live in, but there is a vast shortage of care. I don’t know how to go about tackling the issue. One night it dropped below zero and a chef who works with the homeless asked for blankets and clothes. Traffic was backed up for five blocks in Charlotte with people donating and we had blankets and sleeping bags stacked to the ceiling! We went out that night and met so many people. I remember a lady and her daughter, only four, bouncing in a princess backpack. We took people to shelters, to the warming centers, and bus stops.
I am remodeling my home now. It’s a beautiful log cabin on a nice piece of land. I build lights and furniture and ship them all over the world and god has been so good to me. I find myself pushing deadlines. I have been weeding out my desire to procrastinate, but it is not only a deadline issue – sometimes I feel I have missed entire sections of my own calling because I fail to keep my eyes open and my heart ready. I’m writing devotions for church on the servants in Luke 19. I struggle with it because I feel I am more often the lazy servant…. What was his fault? He wasted his opportunity and assumed what he was given to invest was his.
This hits home.
I wait for God, but in retrospect I cannot say i endured well in the waiting, or even that I am where I should be now. I fear I have buried my handkerchief in so many ways. Yet He is good. He works all things for good. maybe this is rambling, but if you are evaluating your life and accounting for your time, remember that God is wise and sees growth where we see death. In one instant, at His coming, He will set all things in order. He’s not hurried. Not rushed. He calls end from beginning. He has the world. I have a handkerchief and a hand full of deadlines.