"I hold on to You for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post..." Psalm 63

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Playing favorites...

One of my very favorite bloggers is a woman I have never met, but visit often. I feel like I know her..like she's one of my personal friends. She amazes and inspires me. Her life is full of trials and physical pain...but her outlook on life far exceeds human ability.  Her name is Stephanie and I've noted her here before, but wanted to share a piece that featured her home and parts of her family's story. 
 I think you'll like her as much as i do.

One of my favorite moments yesterday came while serving a meal alongside our church's youth at a city rec center.  The center is open during the day so that the kids have a place to play, learn and interact.  Each night a meal is served to whoever shows up.  No reservations necessary, just show up and grab a plate.  That alone blows my mind.  There is no way to know how many people will push up to the table on any given night.  I have no idea how you plan for a meal like that, but somehow they do it.  The favorite moment came while i was eating a plate of ziti and salad next to a young man named "J".  After engaging the two young girls sitting across from me in conversation I could feel the stare of anticipation from J, who was waiting, I think to see if I'd talk with him, too.  "J" is not the type of young man I run into on a typical day in my life. After assessing his willingness to converse with a white woman a decade older than him and finding him very open to share a little about himself, I hesitantly asked him about the tatooes on his arms. 
It went something like this:
ME: "Tell me the story of the maps on your arms...I know there's a story behind every one of them"

J: "Yes, ma'am, there is...this one is from when I served time, and came home with a promise to never return...this one is the name of my first love...this one represents the church my mom took me to growing up...this one symbolizes Jesus dying to take away my sins."

ME "So, is that it?  Or are you planning more in the future...I know how it is, once you start, you're addicted!"  {a fact I have learned because I am Alex's mom}

J: {large toothy grin} Yeah...I promised my mom I wouldn't get more....but the next one will be an angel on my chest with open wings." 

Sorry to tell you, J's mom, but your son is about to break his promise...you should just prepare yourself now.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know this young man.  His life is unique and probably dangerous, but from the sounds of his words, I think He knows Jesus personally.  I reminded myself that I am one judgemental woman.  If I saw J walking up to me on the street I'd probably reach for my cell phone and start dialing 911.  But, J loves Jesus and I would be shallow and unfair to assume he would cause me trouble.  I should not be so quick to judge people by their harsh appearances and the location of their nightly meal. 

I met a boy named Dexter too.  His name totally suited him...he was trying to make a sandwich with one piece of french bread and his baked ziti.  He was quiet, but grinned widely when I suggested I should get him a second piece so he could make it a proper sandwhich.
It was gone in seconds.
I hope he has a mom who loves him...and tucked him into bed when he got home.

Today's favorite is captured in the video below.  I've heard it many times in the past...but today I heard it like it was the first time.

Hoping for you a life that can't get Him out of your mind
or off of your hands...
And look around - all around you are simple things just waiting to be your new daily favorite

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