I remember very clearly the day when Vern spoke up to support another guy who messed up. The guy stole something from our office, and we were trying to piece together what had happened.
Vern said, “Of all places I know, this is a place of second chances.”
That statement says so much: it is a recognition of who we are, and how we are perceived; it is a reflection of how God deals with each of us, regardless of our circumstances and position in life; and it is a reminder of our own shortcomings as we reach out to those in need.
This realization that we (staff, volunteers and all of us for that matter) are not that much different from our street friends, ‘levels the playing field’ and shows our humanity, humility and vulnerability. Additionally, it allows us to connect with people at all levels with a compassion and understanding that is characteristic of our ministry. Second chances are for all of us.
I sat in the stairwell as my friend Henry sadly reflected on his current place in life, and I listened. I didn’t have much to say, but I could listen. After a while, Henry looked at me with a sideways glance, slapped his hand on his thigh and with a guffaw said, “You’re just like me aren’t you? You are just like me!”
We walk alongside people experiencing poverty and homelessness and we do what we can to help and listen and care. We soon come to realize that we are no better than anyone, with our failings and fallings, our own shortcomings and challenges: we too look for a place for ‘second chances’.
Question: When did you last need a second chance?
Consider becoming a part of this ministry: Volunteer Training starts January 30, 2014!