The new year has begun. My wife and I have resolved to eat “clean” this year. Eating clean for us means to not eat processed, pre-packaged foods. No fast food and no soda. It’s time to clean the temple. One thing that will never change is serving and loving our neighbors.
Sunday, January 3rd, 2021, following two worship services at the Church, the doorbell rang. I look forward to Sunday afternoons as we set aside time to nap. Let me tell you, Sunday afternoon naps are the BEST! This particular Sunday, God had other plans. Today we would meet, let’s call them “Tim and Tina”, at our door. They were in their early 30’s and hungry for food and help. We invited them in and offered them a seat.
Tim began to weep. So much so that he couldn’t speak. The first words he could mutter were “I’m sorry, we have nowhere to turn.” I replied “You do now. Take your time and tell me what brought us together?” Tim went on to tell me their story, how family won’t help, the police couldn’t or wouldn’t do much and how they spent last night in a cold, dark public restroom in a park. They lost their home, their car engine was blown and their life came to a stand still. They had each other and the clothes on their backs.
The first the we could think to do was to make them some stew from the cans in our cupboard. Every last crumb of stew and bread was devoured. While eating, I stepped out of the room, still within ear shot for my wife’s safety, and began to call our area shelters. No one answered anywhere. Upon calling a Brother-In-Christ and fellow Priest in the area, he suggested a hotel and together, that is just what we did.
My wife began to gather food in a large plastic sack and I made a reservation. I drove them to the Hotel and checked them in. They had a warm, safe place to stay, shower, use the phone and feel like human beings. We will see what today brings as we look for more permanent housing.
We don’t always have all the answers, however, God gave me the answers through others. I didn’t see Tim and Tina’s faces, I do my best to see the face of Jesus. I write this, not for pride, rather I ask your prayers for Tim and Tina. I ask your prayers for us as we seek permanent help for them, and I ask that in a similar situation, you will try and do the same. Realize that living a Christian life is not easy. It’s not about you or me. We grow closer to God through loving others. One of my favorite quotes is this “I shook my fist at God for the hungry, screaming child until I realized the child was God, screaming at me”.
These are difficult times for everyone, but know that your struggles may be nothing compared to others. Try not complaining about anything for 24 hours and watch your perspective will change. God bless Tim and Tina and God bless you.
Father Jason Bowden