Sunday, August 5, 2007
"faith in action"
this was the title of our WOW summer sunday school class this morning. Keslie, JoAnne and I took 15 5th graders to Hillcrest to give out door hangers we made and to sing songs with hand motions and pretty weird "kidstown" theology actually...
Anyway, I feel like my "continuing team" component of this internship has been kinda touch and go. The idea is for us to not just have a summer of gospel living and leave and go back to normal life later with this memory of a summer one time...but to both let that integrate into the daily fabric of my own life and to intentionally (in addition to coincidentally in my existing relationships) create a continuing team. My chosen team was "kids". this proved challenging. 2nd graders didn't get why we made cookies for the Cambodian congregation last week, they just want to eat the dang cookies. and even if Scott and Robert from COA came in person to explain their stories and church, sometimes I wonder if the kids just bring bags of donations because a flyer got sent home and mom and dad cleaned a closet out. Hopefully there are conversations happening at home as well...I'm pretty positive they are.
But today I feel like it sank in. We had all 5th graders...and they had fun making the door-hangers and singing the songs in the class. And then we drove to Hillcrest. I explained why these patients were here...that we needed to be quiet but we could be cheerful...teacher-ly things mostly. ~~I remember the first time i went to a convalescent hospital as a kid. I was freaked out. I didn't know what the smells were, why that lady kept squawking...truly squawking. why everyone looked so sad and depressed. and i knew it was a place i didn't want to stay at for any longer than I had to.~~ Today I watched kids goof off and play at church and then all this sudden become silent and scared and need to be prompted to say you're welcome when that woman in the robotic bed said thank you or told the little girls they looked pretty... But when we sang they came a little more alive. and when one man who was a little off his rocker (aren't we all) asked if he could sing to us and sang an old Sinatra tune they all applauded and relaxed a little and said thank you to him...and said hi to Anita and Ron, some of the MS patients I work with during the week. It was awesome to see that shift. To know that the past few months of prayers and planning and intentions to not just do something good but to change these kids' awareness and their attitudes to the marginalized of society was actually resulting in something. Instead of being taught to avoid people who look and smell weird and to not talk to strangers and never give money to the guy on the street corner, they're eyes are being opened just a little at a time...and I was privileged to witness that outbreaking of the kingdom today. Thank you Jesus.
I'm also realizing the significance of relationships in these moments. I think random acts of kindness can be a breath of fresh air for some of these patients and the workers there...but the relationship our church has, and that i have through working there twice a week is what made today possible. I even feel weird knowing I taught a sunday school class today and I honestly won't remember any of those kids names...it was a one time thing...and it was weird for one little boy to call me mrs. chelle later in the day...(for one i'm not married...and for two, how come you know my name kid??) I'm so grateful for the relationships I have at Hillcrest and I hope to have after this summer is over. I don't know the future after grad school (the reason I moved to Long Beach)...but I know that right now these people are my friends and I love them.