Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Garden: The Beginning

 

Photo courtesy of my friend's backyard

Photo courtesy' of my friend Jennifer's backyard

I was having a super bad day.

I think it’d been a few bad days, actually. Sadness, borderline depression, grief… As I exited the ladies room, our receptionist paused my stride back to my desk with her usual upbeat chatter. She’d spent the past Saturday afternoon serving a local non-profit organization – on the streets and under the bridges, feeding the city’s homeless. Her story lifted me from my stupor for a moment. As I listened, somehow the testimony of her time touching others for Jesus Christ was injected deep into my heart. Slowly, my countenance began to change. There, in my pool of grief, I was reminded there are still others whose plights are far weightier than my own sadness. The time had come to do something to turn the table on my lowliness. It was time to pour out.

I started researching the organization of which my coworker spoke. She’d mentioned they ran a shelter for women and a separate one for men; the women’s shelter grabbed my attention. I found myself visiting their website daily. Nothing changed from one day to the next but there I’d go…staring …studying…taking something in. Ideas were swirling.

I reached out to the administrator of this shelter called The Garden and asked if I could stop by for a visit. The day had produced a few rain showers. Yet, at the moment I arrived the sun was shining, children were playing and women were enjoying the 4 o’clock air under the shade of a tent. My heart picked up pace reflecting my nervousness. It would be my first time visiting a women’s shelter of any kind.

While touring the facility, I learned several interesting facts. One – how each woman came to be planted in this garden ranges from substance abuse, to domestic abuse, to simply missing a paycheck or two. Another – the shelter’s current population had shifted from being mostly women with children to mostly single women with no children. Wow…I flashed back to a period of my life (not so long ago at all) when I fit the same description – a single woman who’d missed several paychecks, not having full time employment for three years straight. Although my circumstances and support system were different, reality was many of these women were no different from me. There, but for the grace of God, could have been me. planted. in the Garden…

To be continued…