HOME AWAY FROM HOME
My boss waved at me impatiently. We were headed to tour the shelter - a small clinic was located there, and he wanted me to become its physician. We drove a few miles, and then parked in front of a low brick building with no sign. We took the tour. Offices. Dorm-style bedrooms with a small dresser. A half-court gym that reminded me of my own grade school. As buildings go, it wasn't too bad. A little institutional, but not too bad. Then I saw them - children. Everywhere. Babies. Toddlers. Kids. Teenagers. Moving in small groups through the halls and rooms, led by direct care staff from lunch to naps, school to free time. A few days ago they were at home with their families. Now, because of what their families have done or neglected to do, now they are homeless. Motherless. Fatherless. And maybe, hopeless. Sure, they have food and shelter. But this was no home. There were no homes. No families waiting to hold them, to comfort them, to encourage them. They were practically orphans. Kids whose parents are alive, but aren't present. Aren't there to bandage your knee when you fall down, or tuck you in at night. Orphans. American orphans. I was horrified. I didn't sleep for days. And I knew without a doubt that I would be back here. That I would do something about this.
PRAYER FOR SHELTER WORKERS: Lord, give these workers the ability to see beyond the hurt, scars, and fears and truly love and care for these children. Renew their hearts for their difficult jobs and refresh their spirit to bestow compassion and love to those who cross their paths. Amen.