We had a lovely Here Now worship service on Saturday March 26. Still reflecting on the Beatitudes, those who worshipped with us shared their wisdom, their understanding and their struggles with some of the text and some of the traditions that bubbled up to the surface as we reflected together. We were also able to share communion by passing the bread and cup, something we haven’t done since Covid, and something that we missed terribly. It was a beautiful gathering time for worship and connection as God’s Beloved.
After worship I was walking back to my car and ran into a couple of folks that I know from outreach on the streets. One of the folks was quick to say that he “stopped drinking.” It has been a couple of weeks since he had any alcohol and he was very proud of taking this step towards his own health and well-being. We chatted for a bit and then I turned my attention to his walking mate, while he talked with my partner in ministry. He told my partner that I was “part of the reason that he stopped drinking.”
I can honestly tell you that I never addressed his drinking with him. I never encouraged detox, I never even pointed out when it was clear that he was under the influence.
When my partner told me this, my first reaction was “he’s just saying that.” But there is no reason why he would do that, he had nothing to gain by attributing his sobriety -in part-to me. I discussed this with my partner who pointed out that I met him where he was, offered kindness and compassion when he was struggling, and never judged or led him to believe that he could be “better.” Sometimes, simply meeting people where they are and loving them as they are is the best balm that we can offer. I also know that he has recovery coaches and recovery support navigators that work with him so I have the luxury of simply getting to be a compassionate and loving presence in his life.
Sometimes I bemoan not having a tangible thing to offer to the folks I work with, and my dear colleague Cathy pointed out that because what I have is unconditional kindness and compassion I will always have what these folks need in the moment.
You never know what seeds can be planted when we offer non-judgement, unconditional compassion and kindness, and the ability to see the inherent goodness and beauty in all of the Beloved.