Being a downtown church gives us a front row seat to the many human stories that happen in our community, every day. Some days are difficult: we have a seemingly endless parade of people whose lives are in chaos: they need help paying rent, they need money for gas, they don’t have food to feed their family. Many times, we have to say, “We can’t help you with that.”
And it hurts.
We can’t help everyone.
We can see the pain, the fear, the hopelessness in their eyes. Trinity has “assistance hours” twice a week, and even at that, there are times that schedules conflict and we can’t be there at the usual times. It hurts to send people out without helping them. Our receptionist and cheerful people-greeter, Laura, has times when she gets choked up because she knows how much the person in front of her is needing some help. We have each had a chance to talk with folks in our parking lot, on the sidewalk, in the lobby, whose story is so challenging, we just want to help them find the solution. Our first and strongest advice is to encourage people to call 2-1-1. United Way’s “first call for help” has the deepest list of community resources and can be helpful in the face of a number of challenges.
Not to be too “Pollyanna” but I can’t help but think how much could be accomplished if we each just decided to try to help someone, in some way. If we could start by being decent with one another, by apologizing when we’ve hurt someone---that might help. If we could slow our pace just enough to smile, to lend a hand, to greet someone. Even those little things have been enough to turn around my day on more than one occasion. We won’t always be able to help in a material way, but all of us can add good energy and a positive spirit to our interactions with others. If you need a moment to re-center, to calm, to fill up your own cup so you can offer more to the world, I invite you to come sit in our garden at Trinity. Take a break during the day, pull up a bench. Bring a book. Enjoy the stillness. You’re welcome here.