I'm exhausted and I'll tell you why: I have teenagers living with me. And not just my own! It seems our house is becoming known as a place for young people to live when they get kicked out of their houses. Last night we had a house full of teenagers, friends of my kids, and none of them church types. We don't get much sleep, Lisa and I, dealing with these crazy people. I mean, all the stuff that surrounds these guys is incredibly daunting: sex, alcohol, drugs, relationships, parents, religion, blah blah blah. So Lisa and I are trying just to navigate the treacherous waters of our own kids' lives, and now we have others to care for too. But we love it!
Reminds me of our church community. We are busy, busy, busy just comforting and strengthening the people in our own community. As a result, I suspect, it attracts other hurting people who need love, affirmation, and even just plain ordinary help. Bottom line though, I think what attracts people is the non-judgmental atmosphere that we try to nurture here. (I won't get into how this attraction leads to their eventual moving on... another post!) I think people, like our homeless kids' friends, are just hungering for a place where they can hang out and discover their own hearts, their own lives, their own paths, free from criticism and judgment and condemnation. I can't believe how many young people I know now, friends of my own children, kids who hang out at our own house, who's hearts have been crushed beyond recognition and sometimes I wonder beyond repair... some by their parents, some by other authorities, and some by the church. Come, all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Have we forgotten this?
The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Mark Hemmings and is from his Snow Monkeys collection. It reminds me of how we, as communities, should treat each other. It's all about helping each other with our personal annoyances. Oh, there's more, but this is an important part of maintaining unity.