Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Catching Up, and the Bridge Ministry

Yes, we're back in Nashville! I have a bit of back-blogging to do. I had this great intention of writing every day of the 12 days of Christmas. Then, on January 2nd, we lost our internet! Dad and Gerald spent hours and hours trying to fix it, but it didn't get restored til after we got back to Nashville. (I'm sure those points aren't related.) I came home to over 325 emails in my inbox. Needless to say, it's taking me a while to catch up.

Since getting back, I'm back to working for Ben. We're gearing up for the 20th anniversary year of the Stamps-Baxter School, and it's going to be a great.

This afternoon, Kara and I finished our long distance, Song U co-write. We still want to do a bit of tweaking on the song, but we finished enough of a draft to submit to the site. If we posted our song by today, we won 25 points. Those points are collected, and can eventually be turned in for free song evaluations.

My friend, Tara, listened to my CD today. I was sort of freaking out - this was the first time a SG peer has listened to it. She loved it! I was very excited! She really loves the mix of jazz with Southern Gospel, so that was all very satisfying.

Gerald and I are planning on sitting down soon and making up our New Year's goals and resolutions. I really don't want to rush this process. There's a lot for us to do in 2008. Now that we're one year into our visa, I'm becoming aware that our time is very limited. We're still interested in green cards, so that may be a goal for the year. I'm also looking at making resolutions around spending more time and energy on outreach and charity work, and that lead to tonight's activity...

Tonight, I visited the Bridge Ministry. Tara, is very involved in it, and I've been interested in visiting for a while. Every Tuesday night, a group of people gather under a downtown bridge to minister to Nashville's homeless. They serve a hot meal, give out clothing, and lead an informal, but spirit-filled, worship service.

Tonight was close to freezing, but there was still a crowd of people, both on the giving and receiving end of things. In some ways, it was what I expected - great people doing great work. And in other ways, it was all a little surreal. Volunteers set up chairs, lights and a sound system. Professional singers give their gifts of song. A crowd forms an orderly line to accept a hot meal, and then receive food for the soul. The whole thing is like the warm, generous oasis, pitched against the chilling backdrop of a concrete bridge and freezing temperatures.

Two things really jumped out at me tonight: One: Candy Christmas (the Gaither artist who founded the Bridge) welcomed the crowd by saying, "I love you. If no one has said it to you today, let me be the first. I love you." Isn't this something most of us take for granted? I am never very far away from someone who is willing to tell me they love me. But there were people gathered tonight who probably only hear "I love you" on Tuesday nights. Such a simple thing, but it's like breath to our souls.

And two: Tonight was freezing, but I got to go home to a warm house with happy puppies and extra blankets for my bed. For some of these people, the Bridge was probably the warmest part of their night.

I know I'm not saying anything profound or new. But I think we lose perspective. It's one thing to see homeless people on TV, or to give them a nod as a political issue. It's another thing to look into some one's eyes, and realize that you are looking into the eyes of another child of God.

Stay on good terms with each other, held together by love. Be ready with a meal or a bed when it's needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it!
(Hebrews 13:1-2, The Message)

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