Tag Archives: NightShift

An act of kindness, randomly shared

A strange phenomenon is happening right in front of our NightShift, Sisters and The Care Centre building these days. It appears I don’t have to look far for material for my blog posts. Remember some of my past posts? The incessant rain and the dancing red Maple Leaf took place in our driveway.

Earlier this month I had another one of those God moments.

As I backed out of the office parking lot, complaining as usual about the stream of oncoming traffic along the Boulevard, I noticed a man from the street bent over the hot pavement with a NightShift garbage can by his side. He worked alone. Not a soul in sight.

Curious, I paused my car and watched.

random act of kindness_12Jul2013

Focused on his job, he picked up cigarette butts, unsightly weeds, and bits of paper and debris and deposited them in the can.

I was humbled. I can’t honestly say I’d ever stoop down to clean a random parking lot.

Some misinformed folks claim that people on the street are lazy. Takers. Not givers. I beg to differ. Here’s a shining example of someone ‘giving back’ – a random act of kindness – that blessed not only my heart but also the ministry.

This man gets it! “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:25).

One random act of kindness!

No one noticed – except Papa and me. And now you.

What’s important to you?

I’d been digging into ‘The Love Dare’ by Stephen and Alex Kendrick. Day 3 talks about “Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become important to you. It’s hard to care for something you’re not investing in.”

This got me thinking! I look around NightShift and see hundreds of volunteers demonstrating – by their actions – that those who are poor and homeless are very important to them. They are caring for the ‘least of these’.

NightShift could not survive or grow without the many who give over and beyond their time, energy and money. They are giving something very precious – their hearts!

hearts in sandI think it’s safe for me to say that we’re not just talking the talk – we’re walking the walk. In other words, we had to show up, serve and experience first-hand how people were suffering on the street before our hearts broke.

Our time commitment, energy and gifts followed once our hearts engaged.

Jesus says in Matthew 25, “When you provide food, water, clothes and care for the ‘least of these’ my brothers you are doing it to me.” What a statement! By caring for the ‘least of these’ in our own mission field – our own backyards – we’re caring for Him!

I’m asking myself some tough questions today.
What do I care for?
Where am I investing my time, energy and money?
What is important to me?
What’s important to you?

Dented, Part II

The following comment was posted in response to a piece I shared some time ago on the NightShift blog:

Well told Mac. Sometimes our dents tell a story about us or where we have been. Some of us wear our dents with pride, some hide them in shame. Either way, I’m of the mind that doesn’t like to mend those dents as they are reminders to me. Each time I see them, they help me remember both the happy & the sad times that allowed me to put them there.
I hope I’m on par with your story.
:) – Ryan

What Ryan said, about wearing our dents, came to mind this week as I’m struggling with making tough ministry decisions. Without going into specifics, I’m wondering if I’m equipped enough to do all that which God has called me to do. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed, especially when I’m in the heat of the battle.

My conversation this morning with Papa was similar to Moses’ appeal to God in Exodus 33: 12 to ‘guide him clearly along the way that He wanted him to travel so that he would understand God and walk acceptably before Him’ (my paraphrase). I’m asking Papa to do the same for me in the midst of my ‘dentedness’ – so aware of my humanness.

I wonder how many others feel dented as they struggle along life’s journey. I’d love to hear from some of my ‘fellow-denters’ today! Here’s the original post as a reminder:

NightShift outreach

The line up tonight never seemed to end. It was one thirsty traveller after the other, eyes diverted, hearts turned inward, always polite. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’. Hesitant smiles and nods responding to my, “What’s your name?” or “You have beautiful eyes” or “Thank you for waiting and being patient”…

One question rose above the clatter. “It’s okay to be dented. Right?”

A statement more than a question, then a pause. Waiting, begging for acknowledgement.

Caught off-guard, I stopped pouring iced-tea. I turned in the direction of the question and looked straight into a pair of deep brown eyes. Beautiful. A strange question! It caused me to pause – a Selah moment.

“Yes,” I answered, without thinking. It is okay to be dented. I was pretty sure it was okay to be dented because I often felt dented myself. Less than perfect. My honest answer sparked a smile and her eyes danced. She was heard, listened to. Understood. Valued.

I’ve often said over the years that each time I come to the street, I leave with a nugget. Her question tonight was my nugget.

As I rinsed off my dinner plate hours later, her question popped into my mind once again. Like a flash, an image of the front passenger side of my car popped into my thoughts. It had been accidentally dented a few months back.

Every time I glance at it, I have this crazy urge to get it fixed. It bothers me more than I care to admit. It’s not like I drive a fancy car. My truck is 14 years old, boasting almost 400,000 kilometres. I’m very grateful for the blessing of the ride, but somehow it now feels tarnished. It has this dent thing going on reminding me of its imperfection.

True confession? I’m a recovering perfectionist.

Tonight was a mind/heart altering moment. God reminded me that we are not perfect vessels. He loves us just the way we are – tarnished, broken, tired and messed up. And yes! Dented.

My old Ford Explorer has been faithful over the years. It’s okay she has a dent. Just like my new street friend. And just like me.

It is okay to be dented!

Right?

What brings me joy?

Yesterday was stressful – wrestling with tough decisions, questioning compassion fatigue. In the midst of it all, I was challenged by this question, “What brings you joy, Mac?”

Silence for a second. Have you ever been asked that question? Without giving it much though, I tossed back a quick answer. In my heart I knew it was a cop-out.

Arsenio Hall (dating myself here) used to say, “Things that make you go hmmmm.” For me, it’s a ‘ping’ moment – something hits me, goes deep and keeps surfacing until I find the answer.

As I settled into bed last night, the question surfaced again. By now I’m pretty sure that Papa was the initiator of this query.

Being my usual inquisitive self, I looked up the definition of joy: “The passion or emotion excited by acquisition or expectation of good; pleasurable feelings or emotion caused by success, good fortune, and the life, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exhilaration of spirits; delight” (Brainyquote.com).

It struck me. Does success, good fortune or possessing what I love or desire bring me joy? Nope. For me, it’s much simpler…

Someone gets ‘it’. A spark. Eyes light up. A ‘shift’ begins to take place.

Teeny birds – soaring eagles!

“I love you Nana.”

“Thank you NightShift. You saved my life.”sunset joy

Spring buds on trees – tulips poking noses upwards.

Sharing NightShift’s story and somebody leaning forward.

My puppies’ thumping tails as I come through the door.

Running along the water’s edge, wind in my hair, alone with Papa.

Sunsets.

Stolen, still moments with Papa.

So, I toss the same question to you today: what brings you joy?