Dating a Trailer Park Pastor.

Tonight over two pints of pale ale, a pair of hazel eyes sparkled to tell me …
“It feels so good not to have my heart broken every day.”

What a fresh, full feeling… to be whole.

***

Last weekend I was back in Michigan with the man who’s got me all tied up in hope & butterflies.

10 months ago he moved into a trailer park.  Since then he has spent countless hours doling out water, snacks, advice, prayers, & love.  Real love.

But more important than the groceries & the get-to-know-ya’s, he is doing what so many of us fail at… ministry that makes it about them and not him.

How much of the time do we do just enough to make ourselves feel better, aware that diving in deeper would make for too many inconveniences?

After a full day last Sunday, we took an armful of leftovers to a family not too far down the street.
3 kids, 1 newborn, & a waddly bulldog-of-my-dreams keeps their house full of chatter and expenses.

They welcomed us in, and beyond being thankful for the dinner in our hands, they were excited to laugh with us and the kids were thrilled to play show & tell.  They handed us coloring pages and science projects and crafts and toys… smiling to share; sweet little happy faces that belied their situation.

Their eldest, a precious almost 6th grade girl asked if I’d like to see her room.
I walked the few steps down the hall, pulled back the fleece blanket that served as her door and stood in disbelief.

…She stood proudly in the center of her tiny bedroom, beaming.

I took my eyes off of her bright face to look around.  …dirty pink walls, barren closet, bed with no sheets.
But there she stood, smiling wide, proud to show me her few prized possessions.

And in that moment my brain wracked to think of ways to gift her.

Why?

Because I had it decided that though she was happy with what she had, she needed more.
Because I wouldn’t be happy if I was her.
Because I’d look around & come up broken-hearted.
Because I made it about me and not about her.

What do we need?

We need to live thankful, blissfully unaware of anything we’re lacking… because maybe as long as we’re clothed & fed & loved… we’re not really lacking.

Maybe instead of the seven dozen items I’ve chalked on a mental list of what-she-can’t-live-without, including glitter polish and fancier dresses… maybe she’s okay.
Maybe it was the dinner and the smiling and the listening and the shared excitement, maybe that’s all I needed to give her.
Maybe that’s all we both needed.

It’s hard for me to believe something’s ‘enough’ if I can’t wrap a bow around it.

Is it just as hard for me to accept that what I’ve got is enough if it doesn’t fill my closet or my mailbox or my bank account or my bed?

Because here I am scrambling, frantic, fretting over bills & balances & schedules & worries & words that’ve not been said but should’ve…
And maybe it’s enough to rock back on my heels and say “It feels so good not to have my heart broken every day.”

Yes indeed… what a fresh, full feeling… to be whole.

Maybe the new friends of my trailer park pastor are showing me what it means to be content.
Maybe there’s a lesson or two to be learned about how to live in a space of gratitude.
Maybe I need to untether myself to the stuff, untie the ribbons around what’s unnecessary, and understand that my needs have been met.

…tonight my head’ll rest somewhere soft, tomorrow my breakfast plate won’t be empty, each day of this new chapter my heart’s been kept safe, my arms have yet to lack loves to wrap around, & today I felt whole.

And maybe, well maybe…

that is much more than enough.

***

Philippians 4:11-12
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

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2 Responses

  1. So you do realize that God has blessed you with an amazing writing talent, and the full life to write an amazing true life story, right? When will you be publishing a book?

  2. Wow. I really relate. Sometimes I have had to stop myself in the process of thinking it would be better to not do or give anything for someone if I couldn’t give as much as I felt I ought to. Really, the stuff God wants us to share is something he’s given us an abundance of. Love you!!

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