It's been three weeks (I know, SORRY) since my last post and what a three weeks it's been.
The first week consisted of testimony sharing and more acclimation. And praise God for some much needed beach time. I love water and always feel the Spirit in it. The in and out of waves is beautiful and powerful. There is so much energy in water. It covers and it flows. It is strong and calming. It is vast and mandatory. Kinda like God's love, huh?
I have been thinking a fair amount about baptism over the past month or so. I cherish that I was baptized as an infant and know that I am God's, always have been and always will be. I have been tossing around the idea of being baptized again. I honestly haven't come to any conclusions about what that might mean, but perhaps we're regularly receiving baptism: each time we are fully immersed in water. When I jump in the Swannanoa River. When I dive into a wave that both pushes me down and pulls me up. When I splash my face in the morning to give me life. The Holy Spirit continuously anoints. As we dive into this year of serving and seeking God, we are entering a new, or living out in a new way, our covenant with God. We are being welcomed and welcoming others. Though where we (YAVs/Dwellers and those we are meeting) come from is important, we are cleansed of it and called to be in community. We are to meet each other wherever we may be and love each other for it. (Easier said than done, am I right?!)
My Friend's Place is a Safe Haven. It is a welcome table. Folks are invited and welcome to come in as they are. "Serve the person, not the personality" is a phrase I heard a lot during my training at MFP and have come to love. Sometimes anger, frustration, and impatience flow easily from our clients. But equally so, love and strength abound. Sadly, I entered My Friend's Place in a time of mourning as a client had recently passed. This week we held a memorial service for the young man and many clients attended. I stood in a corner of the room and was brought to tears pretty quickly. There was a time for anyone to share and I was constantly touched by what some brave young folks had to say, not only about their friend and peer, but about themselves. These kids are strong, intelligent, and resilient. We all know life is hard, but some of us have to face more challenges more frequently. Times like these remind us, reminds these young people, that the best, and maybe only, thing we can do is push on and love kindness. The smile on my face changed the path of my tears.
And there have been plenty of smiles. I get to be a part of some pretty cool things at MFP, y'all. So here's how it works. We open services in the morning and clients come in, grab some food, try to snag a shower and some clothes and can participate in various workshops and activities. We close for lunch and then do round two in the afternoon. Soon, I will be leading an art workshop on Tuesdays - simply creating a space for folks to create. Wednesday and Thursday afternoons consist of Cirque de Monde. Folks from Cirque de Soleil come in and lead folks in doing all kinds of cool tricks. I've been working on my juggling and trying to get my forward roll solid. There's a tight rope and trapeze. Sometimes it's a space for break dancing. Sometimes for stretching. Sometimes for just sitting back. There's unicycles, stilts, hula hoops, and a gamut of other cool stuff. There's talented young people doing crazy feats and balancing acts - once again revealing their strength and courage. Other times folks can get on the computer, make jewelry, play video games, do improv or watch a movie. Pretty soon gardening and music recording workshops will be running again as well. It's been two weeks since I started at MFP and I am so glad to get to know our clients and stoked about the ways I get to go about it. I'm also pretty stoked about getting to know the whole staff team as well. They're pretty darn fun and I love the dynamic the team has.
Things will definitely be challenging as the year goes on but I continue to feel pumped and blessed.