Sunday, October 19, 2014

At the last minute

Today was the Fall Festival at our church, the one I wrote about in my last blog post. Hundreds of people came. Children played in the playground. They had their faces painted. They chose pumpkins. There was live music. Food trucks served up bbq and other goodies. There was a local farmer's market there. (I bought spaghetti squash, honey, tomatoes, cucumbers and garlic. There will be a veggie feast for dinner at our house tomorrow night.) I talked to people about the Good Samaritan fresco and encouraged folks to decorate rocks, to write one word prayers, to write what they are grateful for, to name people who have been good Samaritans in their lives and those for whom they have been good Samaritans.

I smiled my way through the afternoon.

When it was time to clean up, I took down the signs, put away the markers, the rocks, the easels, and closed one of the two doors to the outside when they arrived. At the last minute.

The taller woman said she had been in the church before - for Room in the Inn, the church's ministry of opening its doors several nights per week during the winter months so that a few of our homeless neighbors don't have to sleep outside in the cold.
The shorter woman asked if it was too late to kneel.
It is never to late to kneel.

I asked them how I could pray for them.
One said that her car had been towed while she was in prison.
The other said that her life isn't going the way she had hoped, that it is going down the wrong path.
I could see physical scars on their faces and necks.
They carried their belongings on their backs.

I asked if I could pray for them right then and there.
They said, "That's why we are here."
I put my hands on their shoulders and began to cry.
I sometimes find it difficult to pray out loud without crying.
When I finished praying and opened my eyes, I saw that they had embraced each other.
Completing the circle.

During my two and a half hours in that room, they were the only ones who asked for prayer.
They came at the last minute.
They were right on time.

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