I was the cookie guy at the end of the serving line last night.
There was a small zip lock bag on the end of my right hand (we forgot the serving gloves). This made grabbing tiny icing topped sugar cookies challenging and sometimes the cookies slid like hockey pucks into adjacent gravy and the baggie on my hand was no longer clear so the cookies had a slight chicken fried taste by the time we had served 80 hungry children, who all seemed grateful to accept a hot plate of food, and a cookie tainted with grease, that was served by a man who had no real understanding of how hungry they were…hungry for acceptance, hungry for hope, hungry for a hot meal and a Christmas shoebox.
I tried to look children in the eye and speak as they quickly moved away to sit and eat at long tables with folding chairs. It was very loud, and after the kids had all finished a first time through the line, I took a tray of 32 cookies and wandered out into the din of youngsters still eating and chattering. The cookies were gone in sixty seconds.
The children went away to a puppet show and bible lesson in the auditorium and we cleaned up and talked. We talked about good news, the baptisms, children being fed, children being loved…and we talked about the bad news, abuse of all forms including sexual and physical and emotional, hopelessness, hunger, children sleeping in cars.
We drove away into the cold night to the place we eat too much, to the place where we are loved more than we deserve, to the place we are safe and secure…home. I thought about how unfair it is, the sadness, the hurt, the hunger, and I thought of the prophet Isaiah.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always. He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. (Isa 58:3-11)
Meanwhile, the children are still searching for the light of their own noonday.
My Refuge is a ministry focused on serving children and families for over 9 years in Bartlesville and Dewey.
6 responses to “My Refuge”
Oh Brent, this makes my heart hurt. I took care of several of those children in the Children’s home, who had no homes, or parents that cared enough for them to provide for them a home, love, stability, and it makes me sad to know there are thousands of children in the same way today. Fonda
Fonda: I know you’ve been an advocate for children for many years. Thanks for doing that. Yes, it is eye opening to see kids with their hands out wanting more food and knowing this may be the most and best
opportunity they have to eat all week, but more importantly, to know God loves them. That’s a difficult message to convey when their basic life needs are not being met.
It’s hard not to feel guilty about all we have when so many have so little. Thank you for sharing your loving care wrapped in a slightly soiled plastic bag. Your humor softens the helplessness we feel. Love you, Mom
Thanks Mom, love you also. You’ve always shown us the way to serve and love.
You and I are not only cousins but share a love for serving the Lord. Amy, Lillie and I volunteer at a community meal in Independence called CUFF Meal (Community for Understanding, Friendship and Fellowship). It’s a real eye opener . . . and one that makes me see the sad level of impoverishment and despair — and the trainwrecks that follow — in our towns. The church needs to return to its place as the place where souls and stomachs are filled, where free clothing is abundant, and where loving guidance is giving in generous servings. The Lord’s instructions are very basic and straightforward: feed, clothe and love. Thanks for the reminder. Know that you and Karen are deeply loved.
Thanks for the note Andy. Hope you and Amy and Lillie are well and planning a great family time at Christmas! Saw a picture of the newspaper crew dining together. Looks like a growing family in the newspaper business. Peace and blessings
to you and your family!