Sometimes God just reaches down and slaps me upside the head. Now, if this statement makes you wince, stick with me and trust that I know what I’m talking about! He’s not making me wait until I see Him in the afterlife to keep me in line, He just keeps teaching me here on earth as I go along my very imperfect, human way.
So what prompted this slap, you may ask? Well, here, to my shame, is my story. Keep in mind that the first thing we do at Hope House before we open every day is pray for kindness, patience and compassion to shine from each of us (this is where I got in trouble).
So the story starts earlier last week, when “Tommy” came in to Hope House looking for help paying his rent to some friends who were letting him crash at their house. Tommy is a regular client, is usually homeless and often slightly inebriated when he visits us. Let’s just say he is one of our more challenging clients. When we explained we don’t help pay rent, he became very upset and yelled about how no one cares about him, etc., etc…….then he left after getting a bag of food.
The very next day, Tommy stopped in to let loose with a loud verbal outburst about how it is our fault he is homeless, and he hates the Catholic Church and us especially. After yelling this at me, he left the room and then came back in to ask for some clothing, which we of course gave him.
Flash forward to a busy Friday afternoon—lots of people at Hope House for assistance, so many that they were spilled out onto the lawn waiting their turns. We were doing double intake duties to keep up, so when I came out and saw Tommy’s name was next, I just sighed. It had been a long week with Tommy, and I was not in the mood for him at all. I called his name, looked around—no Tommy. Someone said he might be outside, so I went out and called again—no Tommy. I came back inside, smiling in relief that I didn’t have to deal with him again. Just then, someone said “there’s Tommy out there with his bike”. So I again went outside, hoping he was heading out and didn’t want to come in again. When I called out to him, I asked him if he still needed to check in. He immediately said yes and almost ran into the building, with me and my poor attitude following. Upon getting into the privacy of the intake room, Tommy told me he didn’t need anything, he just came by to tell me he was sorry for his behavior all week.
SLAP!! That sound you hear is God asking me if I really mean what I say when I pray each day, or am I just being a Pharisee. You see, it didn’t matter if I let Tommy or anyone else know how much I did not want to help him—what mattered was my inner impatience and lack of compassion for this fellow human being. What mattered was my commitment to Christ to treat each and every one of the parts of His body as I would treat Him. This is the whole focus of Hope House, and it is what makes us special.
SLAP! That’s God saying “don’t make me stop this car!”