Thoughts from Outreach (November 2021 Newsletter Article)

Fall, a showing of all God’s glorious colors. What a wonderful time of the year to enjoy the slightly slower pace, to breathe in the earthy scents of falling leaves and damp earth. Flannels and sweatshirts snuggle us in warmth, as all around us, the temperature cools. The comforts of home come to reflect the glow coming from our fireplace. The unmistakable scent of a stew slowly roasting in the oven. The crisp scents of cinnamon and apple cider tickle our noses and fill our home with love.

The other side of the story: The leaves change to bolder, darker shades as the cold weather draws near. We must hurry to the outerwear donation location in hopes of securing a warm coat for the very soon to be cooler days of fall. We wish for socks to keep our feet warm as we sleep in the discomfort of out tiny car, the only shelter we know. If we are lucky enough we start a fire in an abandoned old trash can, sharing the warmth with our other friends. We heat up stale coffee from earlier in the day and don’t mind the bitterness as it reminds us of the life we find ourselves in. There is no warm stew or mulled cider waiting on our table, yet we are grateful for what we have. We have “friends and neighbors” that collect coats and other outerwear for us early in the fall. We have families willing to donate their gently used clothing including warm sweatshirts, socks, and boots. There may not be hot chocolate or apple cider, but we consider ourselves lucky to have several food shelves nearby where we can find food to fill our tummies. While my lifestyle is unconventional, this is where I find myself in this place and time. I strive for a time when I once again have a “roof over my head,” a job with benefits, and can shop in a grocery store for my family’s meals. For now, we are learning lessons in humility, justice, hope, and the power of prayer. My faith keeps me strong.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35)