Lifeline This Week

Fri Aug 06 @02:30 - 04:30AM
Mobile Clinic
Sat Aug 07 @05:30 -
LifeLine Community Dinner
Sat Aug 07 @09:00 - 11:30AM
Downtown Mobile Medical Clinic
Sun Aug 08 @05:00 - 08:00AM
Koinos Church
Sat Aug 14 @09:00 - 11:30AM
Downtown Mobile Medical Clinic

On Staying Soft

So, last night at the LifeLine Community Dinner something special happened. Really special.


Ok, so there were a lot of special things that happened. Friends worked really hard to make sure everybody who came felt welcomed. Many new folks came for the very first time and fell in love with this gathering, as s hundreds of others have for the past seven and a half years. Musicians and poets bared their souls through their art, and invited everyone present to be present with them in their authenticity. Old friends deepened their bonds, while others were being newly formed. And it was all beautiful.


But none of those is the special thing to which I’m referring. The really special thing that happened was that one of our guests tried to steal from us. Like, almost $1000 worth of electronics that belong to my son, who is away this weekend. He was out in our neighborhood at the beginning of the evening, carrying a snow shovel and looking to make some money in order to buy some food. I told him I didn’t have any money to give him, but that he didn’t need money to eat with us. I told him that he would be welcome to join us for dinner.


He seemed grateful, and helped with shoveling walks, and running food from the grill into the kitchen a lot of the evening. He ate his fill more than once, and kept making sure to say thank you.


And then he stole from us. I’m sure he was casing the joint for awhile. In the end, he found his way into Steven’s room and started sneaking things out to the garbage cans, and to a spot behind a wall in our yard. Fortunately, Lyn thought he looked like he had something under his coat when he went out, she and Lauren checked and discovered the loss, and came running in to interrupt me in the middle of reading poetry at the open mic. I ran out and caught the man, and others helped keep him there while we waited for the police after we discovered the items he’d hidden.


What’s so special about that? Well, for me it’s a chance to define or re-determine my convictions about people and hospitality - about becoming hard and cynical or whether to stay soft and open. I choose soft.


I decided a long time ago that my greatest fear is that of developing a hard heart. Let’s face it – there are plenty of reasons to detach, to cover up, to become protective first of all. Last night’s attempted theft was not the first at one of these community building gatherings, although it is the first one that failed. And it would be possible to begin to become security guards before greeters; watchdogs before welcomers. But I just don’t want to live like that.


Last night was special because it gave me the chance to decide that again. I know the most amazing, smart, interesting people, and they make my life rich beyond measure. Over and over again I have the opportunity to connect with other people who color my world with the most vibrant hues, and over and over again the community in which I get to live grows and deepens. How great is that?


I’ve been taken advantage of before, and this time probably won’t be the last. I’m certainly not saying I don’t care or that I’m willing to just be walked on. I had no problem calling the police, keeping him there until the police arrived, and pressing charges. I’m just determined that that is not my starting place.


I’m choosing again today to stay soft. Life is just better with company.