In our first reading at Mass last Sunday, God says “give comfort to my people”. In the homily, Father Scott talked about slowing down the busy pace of our lives, particularly during this most holy of seasons, when we await the birth of the Christ child.
At Hope House, it seems we get busier and busier each day, with a sense of an almost panicked need to process people through as fast as possible. It’s a legitimate need, we are crowded, it’s cold outside, and so everyone wants and needs to be inside while waiting to have their needs met. We have spent the last couple of months doing our best to improve traffic flow and keep aisles open. A lot of thought and discussion has gone into seeing as many of our clients as possible as quickly as possible.
But in this process, have we actually missed part of what makes Hope House so special? As I sat in church on Sunday, I felt convicted where I sat; as if God was asking me “what’s your hurry?” Am I really giving comfort to those I serve when I move them through so quickly?
The simple truth is that many of our clients are frequent visitors, some almost daily. Do they really “need” stuff every day? No—they “need” the comfort that is found in human interactions, in conversation, in a cup of coffee and a chance to watch children play on the floor. Most importantly, the comfort of a place where someone will call you by name and offer a smile with whatever you are receiving that day.
So it has become a balancing act at Hope House. We are balancing how many are shopping, how many are waiting, how crowded it is, how cold it is outside, how many of our clients need to talk to us about more than clothing and hygiene products. Sometimes giving comfort involves listening to His people when they need to talk.
So at Hope House we will be walking the tightrope, hoping not to fall (fail)!