Celebrating Love in February

Celebrating Love in the Month of February is about what we do for others. Are you bothered by how much love of self and self-centeredness seems to dominate our culture? I am not referring to politicians. But I wonder, are you as troubled as I am about the level of self-centeredness with which social media has surrounded us? Pictures of what I am eating ... really? What really got me was someone taking a picture of how much flab they could pinch. Between the Snapchats, Tweets and Facebook, I wonder if we are becoming so focused on what’s going on around us that we lose sight of our neighbors crying out in their wilderness.
While we are used to seeing pictures, I want to share some word pictures from around ABCCM. In the Crisis Ministry, I was painted a picture of a husband and wife whose hours have been cut; now there isn’t enough money for food, or even pay the power bill. This is a picture of a family that wants to work hard and give the kids their best, but just need a little help from their friends.
Another picture shared with me at Steadfast House was that of a woman who has obvious bruises and cuts. She is homeless and scared. She doesn’t put words and sentences together like folks that have had three meals a day and a regular place to sleep. She talks about her abuse in very unusual descriptions, but the volunteer who listens understands from the woman's body language how scared and anxious she really is.
Another picture at the Veterans Restoration Quarters is one of a veteran who won’t even look the intake person in the eye. He fidgets almost uncontrollably and his voice is hardly above a whisper.  The most often-asked question is, "What did you say?"
A volunteer told me, “When you mix in a dose of listening with compassion and respect, sprinkle in some concern and you start to see their countenance change.” A week or two week later, the pictures had changed for each person. For the woman who was embarrassed to ask for food, the tears welled up as she tells how much being able to feed her family meant. For the abused woman, the picture is of a calm, relaxed face – knowing that she is safe and doesn’t have to worry about the next meal or where she will be. The veteran’s picture is hardly recognizable in the next couple of weeks because he looks at everybody, says "hello," greets them with a "sir" or "ma’am," and you can already tell that he has gained some weight after eating so well.  We all need to honor the love of those around us; and the love of those we depend on the most. There is also a time to take the strength and bounty of that love from family, a spouse, and our church and pour it out in a few precious minutes or hours to someone who is not just consumed with themselves, but is truly wondering if anyone cares or is in pain, or lonely, or needs the sprinkle of hope and compassion that only another person can bring.
If you are that person whose love is overflowing and you are feeling the tug or call of the Holy Spirit to do something for someone else, to make a difference, or to use your gifts like those of a nurse or healthcare provider at our Medical Ministry, then please contact us for a tour or for more information by emailing volunteer@abccm.org or calling 259-5300. You may contact one of our ministries directly. You may want a special program at your church of civic club, and we are happy to come talk about the impact of love on the life of our neighbors.  
Reverend Scott Rogers
Executive Director