As we continue in this season of Lent, we ponder and consider the Passion of the Christ, and all that entails, leading to Easter and His glorious resurrection.
I think it was Tony Campolo who, referring to the Cross and the Passion, coined the phrase, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.” We know the full story, but we need to recall that the disciples and followers of Jesus did not know of the resurrection in the midst of Christ’s sufferings. In those moments, it all looked like suffering, suffering and more suffering.
People on the streets know about suffering. We have learned through the lens of the Trauma Informed approach that people carry pain from childhood and early years throughout their lives. The trauma of violence, abuse, abandonment, desertion, separation and more, surface in adults as loneliness, isolation, suffering and pain.
I remember sitting beside Rachel (not her real name), an adult indigenous woman who started to tell me of her early years at residential school. She physically became smaller (pulling her shoulders in together, bowing her head, moving her knees together and kind of scrunching up on her chair) as she began to recount her experience so many years ago. Her body shook as the memories came forth, and with tears in her eyes, apologized to me that she could not talk about it anymore. I gave her a ‘father hug’ and sat with her for some time, the words spoken lingering in the air with her pain, and I prayed that God would give here the grace and strength she needed to press on in her life.
People on the streets know well, the ‘dark side of the cross’, and to us is given the privilege to listen to the stories, hear and (partially) understand the journey, and bring the message of the love of God and the ‘Easter side’ of the passion of the cross, the resurrection, to those who have known so much suffering.
After several years of friendship, Rachel did come to a point of committing her life to Jesus Christ, kicked the drug habit and raised her son to become a man who is now married. We didn’t speak about residential school much after that first time, but I saw the residual effects of her experience almost every day. Rachel has passed on to her reward, and I believe that one day, we will meet again. The resurrection gives us hope for the future.
We bring the message of the Cross and bring the message of the resurrection to our friends on the street- best heard when we listen to and hear the stories of our friends, and learn of their lives as we walk alongside.
~Ken – Executive Director