Posted by: Chelsey Bottoms | June 14, 2008

hardships and graciousness

Realizing that not everyone is going to be nice and gracious towards our team has been a hard lesson for me to learn this week. I was working earlier this week when we ran into a couple of incidences with the men at the shelter. One man balked at the fact that I was going to force him to fill out a form before he could enter the shelter. It was perhaps the first time I had ever felt fear at Jeff Street, and I didn’t like it one bit. Soon afterwards, a teammate and I had a person to come in a frantic because he couldn’t find his ID, which is required to check mail and to get their bags out of the closet. We directed him to get a copy of his ID out of the file so that he could do these things, and when he came back I was by myself. Still a bit panicked myself from his earlier behavior, I moved closer to the panic button, just in case anything were to happen. Later this week I was working in the kitchen when multiple people turned down our toiletries for various reasons. Either the shampoo wasn’t a good enough brand, or the lotion smelled funny, or a menagerie of other reasons. It blew me away to think that I was graciously giving them something that someone else had graciously donated, but they would not graciously accept it. It made me realize that if I were in the opposite shoes, I might be a little picky too. These are people who may or may not have been used to having some of the fineries of life before they were dealt a hardship that caused them to be left without a home. Who am I to tell them that they don’t deserve the same quality of things that I have and use? Though dealing with these problems, I have met many people who do appreciate what we do and give. They compliment me, give me thanks, but it’s not really about me. The book we are currently reading addressed this in saying that it isn’t about the thanks we may or may not receive, but about the Lord that we are doing it for, and the love of the people we are serving this summer. I am blessed to have been humbled and put on the spot in each of these situations, and thank God for every one of them!

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