Friday, July 3, 2009

This week.

A little bit of love goes a long way. We’ve all heard it said but do we really believe it? And if we really believe it, do we love like we believe it? I was beautifully reminded this week that it is true. A little bit of love goes a long way. 

My roommate and fellow volunteer, Jenn, had invited some girls from The Bridge to the movies. One didn’t show up and the one who did, S, arrived with her infamous attitude in tow. Jenn excitedly told her that while the 10 pm show was sold out, she got 3 tickets to the 10:30 showing. S lost it. She laid into Jenn about how she had paid 10 dollars to get dropped off, had a pass from the shelter she lived at only til midnight and blamed Jenn for it all. I told S that her attitude sucked, that she her tone was disrespectful and that if she would calm down, we’d all figure out a way to remedy the situation. This only got S more riled up and when she pulled the “when’s the last time you lived in a shelter’ card”, Jenn and I backed away and began to pray for patience, guidance and a loving attitude. S couldn’t see past her own anger and as we began talking in circles again, I told Jenn to go enjoy the movie and I’d figure stuff out. I told S that I would have loved to give her a ride home but that with the way she treated Jenn, and the way she spoke to me, I really didn’t want to. I walked across the street and as I opened the car door, she yelled at me from across the street. “Get in!” I said coldly. 

I wanted to drive her to the shelter in silence and get on with my night....but I couldn’t. I told her that no one at The Bridge was paid to be there. We spent our weekends there because we want to, because we love her and the rest of the kids regardless of if they love us back. This tough kid who lies and manipulates and has spent her life just trying to survive, started to cry. She told me how she had spent her life being disrespected, being neglected, living on friends couches in between shelter stays and foster homes. At 19, she was living a life of anger, desperation and hopelessness. 

“Lets go get something to eat” I said. As we sat down with her food at Wendy’s, she started talking and didn’t stop for an hour. When I dropped her off at the shelter, she looked at me and said she was sorry for acting the way she did and that she appreciated the food. I told her that we all get upset and thats ok. It’s how we react when we’re upset that matters and the way she reacted was not right and she owed Jenn an apology. She assured me she would. 

The next day Jenn and I are grabbing a coffee and S runs up to the car and taps on the window. Jenn opens the door and before she can say hello, S is apologizing. 

A little bit of love goes a long way. S wants what I want, what Jenn wants, what we all want. She wants to be known. She wants to be loved. The beauty is what happens when a kid like S, gets a little bit of that love that they long for. It changes them. It lets S know that there are people who care about her. Yes, she lives in a shelter, and yes she’s lived a life I can’t even imagine, but she’s loved. And now that she’s had a taste of that love, she’ll want more. 

“Lord, you are my God, I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness, you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.”- Isaiah 25:1

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