Thursday, July 19, 2012

Around the Corner

Yesterday afternoon, the boys and I went to Roger's house - an in-progress, fixer-upper in North Bryan.  Roger goes to church with my mother-in-law and she has been helping out some with his Around the Corner ministry:  food, clothing, a place to sleep, a shower, and/or Bible study, all in his house.  He is a man with a past who lives for the present and gives other people everything he's got to help them survive (and get to Heaven). 

Several years ago, he moved to TX from Chicago, trying to flee the cold weather and the death sentence that comes with the gang activity he was accustomed to.  He says, "The only way you get out of that place is to die or for God to call you out."

After squatting in this abandoned house on Hall Street, he got to meet the man who owned it.  Providence would have it that this elderly man's vision for that home and Roger's vision matched perfectly.  At the end of their conversation, Roger had the keys and the money to begin his mission.

Many people come and go.  It's one of the few places that will answer the door at 3am and serve food through an iron bar door if you're too drunk or high to come in.  Roger pointed out that churches usually close at 5, and if they are open later, it is probably for social events. 

Today, Roger and two other men live in the house.  One was hit by a car and had nowhere to go when he was released from the hospital.  A taxi cab dropped him off.  The other man's family lives across the street, but they don't have enough room for everybody, so he lives at Roger's, too. 

We had the chance to have a water balloon fight and eat dinner with 7 kids from the neighborhood.  During the school year, there are a lot of kids that get picked up after school and receive formation from A&M students a couple of days a week.  Their parents are often single and gang-affiliated.  However, they eventually come for a meal, too and Roger's house has become "neutral ground".  Two opposing gangs ate Thanksgiving dinner together this past year without incident.  Roger says, "They know God is here."

Before we left, Roger showed us the last of a DVD series entitled something like "Are you a fan or a follower?".  It basically illustrated lives of people that previously knew of God and their transformation into people who knew God.

I reflected on this on my way home, wondering if my own faith has been too weakly or insufficiently lived out.  Being in a former crackhouse in a poor neighborhood and watching the steady flow of people coming and going made me ask, "Should I Be Doing Something More?"  "Should I be more like Roger?"

In short time, God assured me that we are all called, but we are not all called to the same thing.  We have the same mission, but it looks different for each of us.  We are called to feed Jesus' sheep.  To take care of each other.  To extend mercy.

Roger is feeding the lost, broken, addicted, and run-over.  I am feeding my husband, children and occasionally a few others.  I am trying to "feed" those who read my blog, who are in classes at Church, and those who need help getting to Mass. 

Earlier in the day, I was visiting a friend in the hospital.  Just as we arrived, someone from our Church brought him Communion.  He was feeding the sick.  We can "feed" people with a smile.  We can "feed" people with a sincere compliment or eye contact that says, "I can see you, and you have value."  Christianity is in the food business.  We are called to feed others, just as Jesus did.  Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

My Dad and stepmom just returned from the Holy Land.  One thing that struck them was that most of Jesus' ministry took place within a radius of 90 miles.  We do not have to go far...

Dear Awesome God, How do you make it all work?!  It is so beautiful that You use all of our hardships to help us love others so keenly.  Thank you for calling Roger out of the gangs of Chicago to a place where his love and street smarts are desperately needed.  Thank you for his courage and perseverance.  Please continue to bless him for his faithfulness to You.  Please give me the grace to be bold for You.  Please help me to live *Holy Audacity: To become a living force for all mankind, a light shining in the world...To be a radiant light as I stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of Him who is the light of heaven.  Amen.

*Quote from St. Gregory Nazianzen card (the one I drew at my silent retreat in February)

No comments:

Post a Comment