Monday, December 3, 2007

august: who's at your mission?

There’s a man staying at the Mission who always wears a shirt and tie beneath a Harris tweed jacket – no matter what the weather. He’s pleasant, chatty and harmless though he does have trouble distinguishing between what is real and what isn’t.

In the month of August in Today at the Mission, we have our second encounter with the gentleman who comes to be known as The Man With the Million Dollar Tie. Later on, [rhymes with kerouac] notes, they would connect in a powerful way, to the point where the author writes “I cannot guess how meager my life would have been for not knowing this one client.” But it starts, like most relationships do, with one person making an investment in another.

This encounter stuck with me because there’s a Man With the Million Dollar Tie in my life, too. I visit with him a few times a month at a nursing home in our neighborhood, and like the individual in this book, my gentleman friend wears a suit and tie every day and, at 85 and suffering from dementia, also has trouble keeping up with reality.

In the nursing home, everybody is suffering from something. Trouble walking. Trouble eating. Trouble remembering. Trouble passing the time. But something I’ve learned over the past few months is that while everyone here gets dealt the same deck of cards every morning – some people fold while others go all in. My friend goes all in every day – using every waking moment to be thankful, appreciative, encouraging and loving. The rooms are huge, the food is great, the activities always entertaining and the people are wonderful. Just ask him.

While [rwk] focuses on the plight of the poor – I am reminded today that there are many ways this manifests itself in our world… poor in money, poor in spirit, those who mourn and those who are meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. While this may be a "big duh"... just as I blogged last month that I have no idea about the plight of the homeless, I often have no idea of the plight of the person sitting across from me, either.

Fact is, we all have a job to do Today at the Mission. But it doesn’t have to be a homeless shelter. Our Mission can take the form of a nursing home, or our job, or our school, or our neighborhood… or even the family table. No matter where we are, we can share the journey God has taken us on, and the power of Christ that continues to change lives. It just starts with one person making an investment in another.

3 comments:

NaNcY said...

good post. thanks for sharing this.

Pat said...

My mother-in-law is in a nursing home. I go each day and find what you have described. One blessing I see is the majority of the staff. Their patience is amazing. I'm there an hour or less and am ready to escape. Thank God for them and for giving different gifts so that there are those who can go each day and bring His love into a difficult situation.

It's a lesson to each of us to bring His life wherever we go. I think it's our job description!

Ed G. said...

nancy - your ongoing encouraging is a blessing to me.

pat - welcome! i think you're right... it's easy for me to be "nice" in spurts... but that whole-day thing is such a challenge!