I don’t think I will ever get tired of hanging out with the people at the Mission. I’m putting that in writing so that one day, when I’ve grown out of my everything-is-great phase, I can look back and remember what it was like to be young and naïve.
Seriously though, they are just so funny. I am continually caught off guard by the refreshing honesty that they bring to my life, calling me out when I’m clearly not paying attention or challenging me to think harder about things. They are definitely not all honest all the time, but that just brings a sense of excitement (again with the whole naïve thing, I know) and puts my gift of discernment to the test (who knew spiritual gifts are actually useful for day-to-day life? I’m kidding, I totally knew that…).
I have also become somewhat of a “person to vent to”, a role that, oddly enough, I find myself playing most places I end up. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a good listener or because I have the ability to give quick and concise feedback, but whatever the case…it appears to be a task that I’m stuck with. I say “stuck with”, but I actually really enjoy listening to the things other people think about. And they think about a lot. Which seems like a redundant statement, but I always feel the need to explain that the people that I work with and for and among are just as “normal” as you or I.
Though it’s possible that the next few paragraphs will now seemingly discredit the statement I’ve just made…
We have a routine here that includes a nightly breathalyzer for everyone staying here. I like to think of it as a complimentary breath check. Like, “Based on our findings, we’re going to recommend that you try this peppermint mouthwash before ever going out in public.” I recognize that I’m probably alone in my thinking.
Anyway, during this special time, I often have to walk through a room full of men to get to my destination. These men are not afraid to tell me what they are thinking. Sometimes it is hilarious, as in the case of the gentleman who wanted to sing Purple Rain (yeah Prince!) to me. Sometimes it is bizarre, like the man who started singing She’s a Lady (complete with the “whoa whoa whoa” part) as I was walking by him.
Side note: I’m realizing as I type this how often people sing to me. The two instances I’ve just mentioned are in no way isolated events.
And, sometimes my encounters are awkward, such as the man who calls me by name (or, more often, a shortened version of my name with a tone of voice that tells me he thinks he made up the nickname) and asks me how I’ve been spending my time because he hasn’t seen me in awhile. As though it is my fault that my current job description doesn’t include trying to be wherever he is. To be clear, I’d be creeped out if that was, in fact, in my job description.
Please don’t fear for my life. I almost always feel safe. And when I don’t, I just remember that God’s in control and He, at times, clearly has a different sense of humor than I do.