I am torn between grief and rage

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Last week at the small group I attend I found out from a guy who serves at the soup kitchen I used to that one of the regulars was murdered. He was shot down in cold blood.
This guy was no stranger to me, for he was a regular. He was hearing impaired, and so we’d communicate by writing notes to each other. As we got to know each other better, I found out that he loved birds (he once brought in a photo album of his budgies). He also had a sister that he did a lot of activities with.

It grieves me that he has passed away & it fills me with rage given the circumstances of his passing. I’ve both emotions under control but I admit it has taken a bit out of me because he didn’t deserve to leave this life like that. When our time is up, that’s that, but really? Gunning someone down in cold blood? It bothers the hell out of me when people take the lives of others; whether in times of war or 1:1 scenarios like these I can’t shrug it off easily.

I’m going to have to wrestle this one out with God, she and I need to talk it out…strongly and honestly…with one another. I hope I get some peace from this tragedy, I hope his family gets some peace as well.

~Nathanael~

29/30 – Some rules society seems to enforce were meant to be broken

Some rules society seems to enforce were meant to be broken

I work with the homeless and down-and-out in my community of Aurora Illinois. Now society and social norms would say that they (how dehumanizing! They’re some of my favorite Imago Deis!) should keep to themselves, that they should pull their bootstraps up, get a job, “God helps those who help themselves”, yada yada yada…are ya done yammering your jaw?

There are times where I say screw society and social norms, if something comes between me and serving God by serving others because “that’s not what we do” “in polite company…” et al, I don’t want a part of society and social norms that separate me from people whom God has made in his own image.

Take for instance what’s going on in Orlando, essentially it is illegal to feed homeless people, to which some people defied the law and consequently got arrested for it… Yet put in a similar situation I would be doing the same! There aren’t any laws imposing me from feeding the homeless in my hometown, but if it ever becomes illegal by law terms as in Orlando, I will break the law.

Some rules are meant to be broken, and I have no problem breaking rules that keep me from serving God by serving others.

~Nathanael~

Falling in love with Aurora Illinois

“In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.” -Marianne Williamson

In the last 3 years I have fallen in love with my hometown and the communities within the community of  Aurora Illinois. To be honest I haven’t loved Aurora for a long time, I haven’t seen much of the world and there have been times where I’ve said I’ve lived in Aurora _____ years too many…not a nice response, but hey I was young[er] and naive[r].

But over the last 3 years I have found callings that help other people; helping out at a soup kitchen, being a youth leader at one of my churches, etc. and I think that’s where my love for Aurora has come into place. In the serving of others, in being the hands and feet of God, in connecting with others and in being and doing… I have found my heart, I have found a heart for my community.

At times I thought that maybe in my serving others it was one-sided, but as I take time to build friendships and take the time to listen to people’s journeys in life I realize symbiotic relationships are unfolding and happening. It isn’t easy being close and vulnerable with others, but I have learned over the years that transparency begets transparency. If I hope to help people be real and authentic with what they’re going through, much of the time it helps to real and authentic with what I’m going through as well; but the caveat of transparency is that one should know ones boundaries as well as one’s audience, some things no matter how real and authentic aren’t for every listening ear, have discernment in your transparency and things should go better.

I have also recognized that I want to share what I love with others; whether the Gospel message or opportunities to serve the “least of these” I want other people to be a part of the process. I appreciate the Lord’s Prayer, because it is my desire to faithfully live and do and be a part of the reconciliation and restoration process, the “on Earth as it is in Heaven” facet of Jesus’ prayer. Good things (as well as bad things) come and go, but God things and things that pertain to kingdom work will last.

With the time that I am here in Aurora Illinois I will do what I can to serve God by serving others. While I do have dreams and aspirations of seeing more of God’s beautiful world (after all he did pronounce it as good, didn’t he?) I will do what I can to serve him faithfully and dutifully with the time he has given me.

~Nathanael~