Most of you know, some of you don't, I've been living with one nightmare of a cold for the last two weeks. It's strength-sapping, misery-making, head-filling, chest-coughing (and rib cracking, it feels like!), sleep-depriving ick makes me want to avoid participating in life as much as possible. I'm angry, too - I want it to go away and leave me alone and I want it to leave my house and not bother anyone else in it.
It has truly been the kind of cold that makes me look back on the last two weeks and wonder how I've managed to do half let alone all of what I've done, this past weekend being the biggest. You know how excited/nervous I was for Sunday morning - it was my first devotional at the Everett Gospel Mission's Womens shelter and let me tell you - it was the most amazing half hour I've spent in a very long time. I look at these women, so many (after all, it's humanity) having been hurt so overwhelmingly by one thing or another, sometimes just by themselves and still they exude this air of incredible beauty. Whether it be just in their ability to put one foot in front of another, survive another day, or in their catching you up in your own mess (You know, you really should stop putting yourself down...) and not allowing you to pity yourself. After all, what do I really have to put myself down about? However, she caught me doing it, called me on it and loved me anyway. One of the first to ask if I was coming back to them again. I'm going back this Sunday and then for two Sundays each month and I can't wait. I want to spend more than a half hour with them. I want to dig with these women, learn about myself and them and most of all learn about God with them. Yes, I know - it was a good Sunday and they won't all be that way. Sooner or later I'm going to have someone in that room who will gut-punch me and it won't feel quite so lovely. At the same time, I know God is preparing me for that and will love us anyway. He'll take that moment and make it beautiful, too. That's what God does. "You intended it for bad but God intended it for good..." If Joseph could see it, I pray I do, too.
I had to head down to Vancouver, WA on Sunday for work. I went into a part of Vancouver I've never been in before which in and of itself was nice. Vancouver is a pretty city in many places - not so pretty in others. So, basically, it's a city. I stayed in a lovely hotel and stayed just one block west of an assisted living facility for those who are mentally impaired. Talk about stark contrast. To me it spoke volumes of how so many of our poor or mentally ill are treated. They're right there - right next to us - and often we walk by as if they don't exist. Most of the time, we pretend we don't hear them as they try to speak to us, we pretend we don't see their jars or hats or whatever else they have out asking for our change, we pretend they aren't really there. I'm trying to change that in myself because I am the biggest offender I know. I keep my head up (and therefore my nose up in the air), or turned in the opposite direction because then I wouldn't have to "deal" with whomever was sitting on the ground near me. It is hard to change that response - it's almost as if I have conditioned myself to do that, no matter my intentions. Over and over, though, I am reminded that we're all just getting through one day at a time, we all have hopes, dreams and loves. We're all the same - some of us just have more stuff than others.
My cold is dragging me down so I think I'm going to cut this blog off, kind of in the middle. There was more to my weekend but it'll have to wait until I'm feeling better. One thing is for sure - either I'm getting old or this one is different from any other cold I have ever experienced. I will pray you stay healthy, though!!