Sunday I received a heartbreaking call with news that a neighbor we connect with through community ministry had been found dead Saturday afternoon. This neighbor had been coming to Community Ministry for longer than my time here. He was unhomed and relied heavily on organizations like ours to provide for basic needs like food and clothing. A few months ago, he approached us and asked if he could take a shower in our facilities. After checking the hot water and finding some towels, I showed him to the shower. I was a little hesitant, but the shower was a blessing for him and for us. One shower led to regular usage, and those showers led to longer conversations and more personal connection and care.
A week ago he requested corduroy pants to help with the cooler nights. I hesitated—does he really need them now? Should we wait? Maybe we could wash what he has. Do we have enough?
Amazingly, we recently received a donation of several pairs of corduroy pants that were his exact size! So the decision was made to share what we had and address future needs later. We set them aside, clean and folded, ready for his next shower.
Saturday morning, just hours before his death, he showed up for his weekly shower. As usual, God showed up in our interactions. Following his shower, he came outside with a huge smile on his face. He expressed how much he loved this place and how grateful he was for how God was taking care of him. Tears rolled down his face as 5 or 6 volunteers talked to him and made sure that he had foods he could easily eat in the coming week.
My last memory of our neighbor, is him walking away, food in a bag hanging from his walker, wearing new corduroy pants and a long sleeved blue shirt. He turned around and said ‘thank you’ multiple times as he left.
God is present in the alley.
He continues to provide.
He loves each of our neighbors.
These interactions challenge me to be more present and in the moment with our neighbors. They challenge me to pay attention to where God is at work. They prompt me to examine the use of our abundant resources. They remind me God continues to provide “enough”- which is a promise I have embraced throughout the pandemic.
Community Minister Director