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23 September 2011

It Never Gets Old


There are feelings in ministry which never quite go away, never quite dissipate.  I usually think that if I ever begin to lose these feelings, then it will be time for a long period away from ministry and serious time spent on renewal.

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I spoke with a first grader at the parish grammar school where I am helping these days on Thursday.  I knelt next to the lunch table so I could be eye-to-eye with the first graders.  They guessed how old I was ... 32 ... 45 ... 97! (great fun).  We talked a little bit about their lunch choices and they asked me why I wore a brown robe.  Then a little girl next to me, without prompting said, "My brother is far away from home.  He's somewhere fighting the bad guys.  I haven't seen him since the summer."

My heart breaks for a little girl who has no idea how complicated her life is going to be.

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I drive through South Boston and see woman, more or less my age, distended bellies, sunken eyes, terribly skinny: all the characteristics of heroin abuse.

I want to stop my car, hop out, introduce myself and get them some help.  Shake them: don't you know you're dying?

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I saw a former resident at the Shattuck sitting on a returning wall near a local park.  He was red-faced and much heavier from when I had last seen him.  His beard appeared terribly unruly.  His eyes were hollow.  If you ever are in Boston and run into "Hoss" -- he'll introduce himself as such, please be careful.  And then get him to a shelter.

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And my heart breaks over and over again.  It never gets old, though it makes me feel old.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

I got homeless children without lunches, elderly living in squalor, medicare patients having wheelchairs repossessed and dv victims forced to return to their abusers -- no room in the inn. I so feel for you. Prayers for you Matt and blesings on them all. Dona nobis pacem.