Last Sunday we had a guest who comes by now and then in need of help. Her particular set of demons drive her to extreme solitude. She travels on foot and prefers to sleep outside. Only when she is truly desperate does she come near groups of people. On Sunday she was exhausted from having stayed awake several nights in restaurants. Having gotten to know her, our congregants have found the graceful balance of saying hello, offering her something to eat and then ignoring her. We had a good conversation and she asked to rest for awhile before moving on. At first she sat up with arms crossed and chin on her chest, dozing. After all but the worship committee were gone - she stretched out on the wooden bench, put her legs over her guitar and used her books for a pillow. She slept the sleep of the dead while worship committee folks tiptoed around as if she were a napping newborn. And my heart broke with the joy of pastoring a church this cool.
I wish she'd let us take her to a shelter so she could sleep safe and warm every night. But her needs don't accommodate my wishes. Nor should they. A shelter would have her demons dancing on her heart and mind to the point of terror. What kind of person wishes that for another? Her needs are vast yet she asks so rarely and for so little. All those demons are well beyond my skill set. But we do have a warm building, kind people, coffee, cookies and a pretty good bench in our foyer. She hoped to get a bus to Minnesota today where she has people. I pray she is safe. I pray to be ready next time she visits.
peace & prayers, pastor annette