But, slowly, I've come to appreciate, and even look forward to being there.
I think it's impacting me in a very good way.
1st, there's the compassion thing. I recognize that there ARE a lot of folks on the street who for one reason or another choose to be there. Yeah- it's a hard life, but being a "normal" to them is probably harder, so this is what they prefer. But in spite of those folks, every time I'm there, my heart is captured by someone's face, someone's story- someone who clearly would rather be elsewhere- who's either been beaten down by life, is suffering mental illness, or has just gotten old and finds that it's a hard life to make your way in. I love those folks, and more and more as I'm around them I am learning what it means to just sit and talk, listen, pray for and with them.
I think a lot of people come down to the Mission and see the line of guests come through, realize they will be served and eat whether we come and volunteer or not and so wonder if it's really worth it.
And it's worth it to us- but not immediately. I think the "magic" of serving in a place like the Rescue Mission is what happens over months and maybe years of regularly showing up- learning names, hearing stories, offering kindness and prayer- having your views change and your heart moved. That won't necessarily happen the first time you come or even the 4th or 5th time... but like our friends in the recovery community say- "Keep coming back- It works if you work it."
And it does work...