It's been a few days and we have been home, slept in actual beds, taken nice showers, eaten home-made meals, life is somewhat back to normal. But there's a big takeaway from the trip that I saw and hope others did too.
It's all about understanding people's story. Everyone this past week was put in a place where it was easy to assume what was going on or be upset that people didn't act like we do (or thought they should). Children should have been better behaved. There should have been less yelling. The homeowners should have been a little more appreciative of all the work we did on their house. And since they didn't act like we thought they should have we judge and speculate.
But for some of our students, understanding the whole story helped deal with these feelings. When you see the tiny house that eight people live in it's easy to see why children yell, they've learned it's the only way they can be heard. When you find out that the five foster kids are mad at the world because their father is in jail and CPS just took them away from their mother to live with grandma who really can't take care of them, we understand a little better why they are so upset and take it out on anyone, even those helping them.
Every day we encounter people that we don't understand or who rub us the wrong way. We can't control how other people act, but we can control how we react. By taking time to realize we don't understand everything that is going on in someone's life, that we don't know their story, it becomes a little easier to be compassionate and patient, even loving.
It was a hard week, but hard doesn't mean bad. It was a great week with hard lessons. I hope as FIRE & WATER Student Ministry we learn them and work our best to reflect Jesus to everyone we meet.
But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him. ~ II Corinthians 3:18 (TLB)