Red Breasted Sapsucker beat a message drum that led me to find him in the tree. What message does your heart beat? My heart beats the message of being a witness to Love.
Yesterday, I saw an entire community of people surround a young woman who was homeless with loving kindness and a path towards having a place to live. This is a story of love in action and how Facebook became a Message Drum.
Early on Tuesday morning, I posted a lament on Facebook.
What I hate - checking in with a girl and seeing how she is doing and leaving her to sleep on the streets because the shelter has a worse reputation than the street.
I received a lot of support including this conversation with Pastor Kelly Dahlman-Oeth (red) of Lake Washington UMC
Friends of Youth? If she's over 18 and/or has a car, we have some safe options for her. Let me know. (P.S. let's talk at A/C about preaching.)
Over 18, no car, she has been robbed so her ID is missing. Counselors at the Orion Center told her the Roots Shelter was "full of a bunch of tweakers." Leigh-she is wandering around 1 square mile of Orion Center at Denny / Yale. (I think that is the intersection). No ID means shelters for youth won't let her stay, primarily. And, let's face it, I work with kids who are / have been incarcerated. Not all would I bring into my home. She is one, unfortunately.
I'll send word to some folks who might be able to help her find safe shelter, regular meals, some structure, and community. Incarceration is not a problem (provided she doesn't have an outstanding felony warrant.)
Can she get to the Eastside tomorrow?
I will bring her if she will come.
Give me a heads up (sending you my cell # in a message) and I'll try to make sure we have a woman there to explain what's available.
That brief exchange led to an incredible day where we found temporary shelter for her and a path to more permanent temporary shelter which will lead to a path to transitional housing and possibly permanent housing. She slept safely last night for the first time in a while and she now has a community that embraces her success.
This is just the beginning of the story yesterday. Love stepped in as this church provided shelter. It stepped in as a friend of mine made a backpack of food. Love stepped in as friends I have never met in person on Facebook provided support and guidance from afar. Love stepped in as official systems did their job and got her the documents she needed (finally). And love stepped in as miraculously, her original identification was found and returned to her last residence. And finally, love stepped in when she decided, randomly, to call her last residence and check in with a friend to discover they had her purse and ID.
Love was swirling all around--a force to be reckoned with. The question is, will Love be heard? Will we hold our hearts and minds open enough to give direct aid to the lost, the least, and the lonely? Will the hands that deliver Love be received and pursued?
In this case, Love was heard and received.
My soul is much lighter today.
What is your story?
What do you have to share?
How is it with your soul?
© 2013, post and photograph, Terri Stewart, all rights reserved