What a week! I am both exhausted and riding on a cloud. God has been so good and I am so thankful that we were able to help people to get out of the cold for 8 days. It was an amazing task and I am so grateful for the support, encouragement, generosity, and relationships from people all over Wilmington. This was truly a community endeavor and it has revealed the heart of such a terrific city.
One thing that I have been reflecting on was how much we were like family over the last 8 days. Sometimes we got on each other’s nerves, we cried together, we laughed together, we watched football together, we prayed together, and we ate together (boy did we eat). People from all over the community would come and hangout with all of us. We had a karaoke night, card games, dancing, and a lot of fun. While at the same time there were disappointments, like people that would leave to go out into the cold because they just couldn’t be around so many people (because there were a lot of people).
As I have been thinking about family, I am reflecting about how one night it felt like heaven and earth kissed. On the night that we had karaoke we had someone that got up and sang a song called “Tennessee Whiskey”. While he was singing (and he was really getting into it), a woman in her 50’s started dancing with a guy who was in his late 20’s and it was amazing! It was that moment where I saw family. It was messy and beautiful all at the same time. Yes we were gathered together to stay warm and eat good food —– but it was so much more then that. It was a time where we could hear and be heard. It was a time to look at the other in the eyes and say that we are all made of the same stuff. It was a time where a bike shop and cots and kittens and coffee became the very elements of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
Many nights we would gather to pray together and sing together. When we would pray, most of the prayer requests would turn into a word of thanksgiving. This word of thanks was for all the blessings that had been poured out upon us that were huddled together at 12th & Chestnut. Because we have come to know that miracles happen at that corner, and we are grateful that we can participate in God’s miracles.
Lastly, this sign was found in Switchin’ Gears after we cleaned up. This is an indication that what we were able to do together helped people not to die out on the streets. I am wondering if there are people that would like to begin a conversation about doing something like this on a more regular basis? I am wondering if there are partners out there that could help make this possible? We have found that much of our experience in doing this reveals a great need. But we believe the way to fulfill the need is through welcome. How can we as a city be known as a city of welcome and do this sort of thing on a more regular basis?