At the end of this month, we will have been in ministry at His Mansion for 5 years.
Yesterday, we celebrated the graduation of four men and one woman from the program. Graduations are always joyous and festive, mixed with a little bit of mourning of seasons ending and people moving on that we have come to know and love. This is the 15th graduation we have been a part of. I am not sure how many people that is, but someday I think I’ll count — there are so many stories of the ways in which God has redeemed and restored. I am blessed to see what the Lord has done in those who have come through here. This past year especially, we’ve received quite a few wedding invitations, news of weddings, or “Save the Dates.” People are having babies. People are following the Lord and doing big things for Jesus.
Our evening yesterday though was quickly juxtaposed against this highly celebratory and joyous event. We ended up going out to dinner with some friends from our church who have actually just started to serve with us at His Mansion as well. About halfway through dinner, Jason realized that a young man working back behind the counter was someone that we knew. He caught his attention and waved and attempted to ask him how he was. “How are you?”
The young man diverted and seemed to wave him off. We weren’t sure whether to take the hint or press in. We finished our dinner and started to pack up Jude and clean up the big mess he left under his seat. The young man met us as we left and I felt my heart drop at seeing him. He wasn’t well and it was obvious in the way he held his body, his eyes, his sunken in cheeks. He stood a little too close to us as we spoke. It was all small talk, but it didn’t seem like he was capable of much more and we didn’t push.
We left the restaurant, almost stunned. It was a harsh reality check after the day’s events.
It’s slightly ironic because I stood with Jason, on Monday, at a part of the road on the property that looks down into the gardens while we were out on a walk with Jude. I asked him why are we here. It wasn’t meant to be negative, but since becoming a parent, I have found myself struggling with what my purpose is within the His Mansion community. It was less of a question for him than it was for myself. He answered me, and in typical Jason fashion, he turned it back around on me. “Britney, why are you here?”
The young man working in the restaurant is a stark reminder of all the reasons why that I haven’t figured out yet that still stir me up. Not to mention all the questions I have for God about why people respond to life in so many different ways. Why are there lives that seem to have found wholeness in Christ? And why are others still so broken even after meeting Him? This young man is a reminder of the battle of life versus death that is the often forgotten undercurrent of so much that happens here on this property. Though I no longer work in Resident Care here, I still remember that feeling of when the weight of others’ choices felt so incredibly heavy.
As I sit writing this, I was reminded of this passage:
“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:20-25
Lord – We need You here. We wait for You.