This past Sunday night I was once again privileged to serve dinner at the Simpson's Men's Shelter which houses @75 men every night. I am the leader at our church in the area of service and get to arrange our service projects. I love it and love that serving in the name of Christ is an act of worship to Him.
Every time we go I am filled with gratitude that I have never needed worry about where my next meal would come from or where I would lay my head that night. I am humbled by the men we serve and how they somehow find the strength every day to get up, go out and either look for work, work at their jobs - many are employed in minimum wage jobs, or just wander all day before they can come back to the church's basement and lay their heads. The mattresses they have on the floor of the church are very close to each other and a staff or volunteer takes turns watching over them every night for their safety.
Many of the men are plagued by mental health issues. As I was passing out cookies table to table I asked one gentleman if he'd like some, but he took no notice of me. He was quite disheveled, with very long and unkempt hair. Later he walked past me and was softly talking to himself. I wondered what it must be like for someone who is in the depths of mental illness. Does he realize it is happening or is it just "normal" for him? It seems as if it would be so lonely not to connect with other people, but does he feel a connection with what he hears in his mind?
It is always so wonderful to bring new people along to help and hear what strikes them. The gratitude and politeness the men express surprises many. I think how weary I would be to always feel as if I needed to thanks others for even my basic needs if I couldn't provide them for myself.
Today I am tired as I was up most of the night due to kid's needs. However, when they went off to school I climbed back into my bed and slept a couple hours. If the men at the shelter are ill, they still must leave at 6:30AM and wander or work till 6:30 that evening. Today, especially, I am very very grateful I am that my tired body has a place to rest whenever I am weary and I am thinking of the men to whom we served chili Sun. night and praying that they are warm and comfortable today and that someone shows them God's love today as we tried to Sun. night.