The mission received a “facelift “of sorts this week. Fresh paint, reorganized shelves, new chairs, new desk, cleaned from top to bottom, new pictures hung and even a fancy new pen for that new desk. The space seems bigger, cleaner easier to move in. I couldn’t wait to open the doors today for all our friends excited to hear what they had to say about all the “newness” of it.
As we prayed before we opened, I asked God something like, “I hope they love and appreciate it as much as we do”. When we unlocked the door, I waited for the ooooohs and aaaaahs of the first to enter the space, but it didn’t happen. Instead Phyllis was helped to the front and into the door to be sure she was first. In her hand was a card that read “To Helen and Staff” on the envelope. I honestly did not know why she was handing us a card, but as soon as I opened it I did. The inside of the card read
“To Helen and Staff. Congratulations on your grand opening. Thanks for all your help and understanding. Keep up the good work. ~ Phyllis”
It was also surrounded by the signatures of our friends who also stood in line with her.
I said, “You didn’t have to do this Phyllis.” She said, “We all missed you guys so much, and you do more for us than you sometimes know.”
Another friend said, “You can be good to us when we’re not so good”
“We really feel it when your not here”
In that moment today of opening the mission with the facelift, I realized how foolish it was for me to wrap up all God has done down on Barton with a pretty space. I wanted all our friends to love the new space, but the new paint didn’t make it lovelier to them. They taught me that the beauty they see in the space is the people who are in it.
We can do whatever we want to look better for the world but we can’t hide our ugliness from God. Yet he sees the beauty in all our broken and comes to be with us no matter what “facelift” we need.