Yesterday I went to community prayer at Hope Street. I hadn’t planned on going and I didn’t really have time. But Tuesday night the executive director emailed our board letting us know the building had been burglarized and I knew I needed to, as our executive director calls it,

just show up.

Charles began the meeting reading a devotional, coincidentally on fear. It began with a quote from Carl A. Menninger which I found profound, “Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.” When he finished reading, Charles said he had heard the night before, that the building had been burglarized so he had some trouble sleeping.

I choked back tears. Charles has over the past two years, become a dear friend and mentor to me. I hated that my friends had had their homes and hearts violated by some intruder.

Another member in our group who walks with a cane and is legally blind was shocked to hear about the robbery. “This place is amazing, man! I no longer have to live out my car. I got a place to wash my clothes. Why in the heck would you want to steal from this place? That pisses me off. Why would anyone steal from this place when they’d literally give you the shirt of their back?”

I choked back more tears. This already vulnerable man wasn’t worrying about himself. He was angry because someone had violated the trust and property of the staff he loved and clearly knew loved him.

Charles then asked if and how we forgive whoever it was who broke into Hope Street. The members talked about Christ’s forgiveness and shared stories. They decided despite their anger and fears, since they’d been forgiven, they must and wanted to also forgive.

Charles re-read the devotional when another member, fearful about the break-in, came in late: How do we overcome fear with faith? “We can simply open ourselves to the possibility that things can turn out well.” I thought about that idea all day and several times since.

Then Charles closed in prayer asking God to increase our faith… “just enough for today.”

Yesterday I went to community prayer at Hope Street. I wanted to show up and help others, but in the end, as almost always happens at the Greenhouse for People, they helped me. The “broken” men, women and children at Hope Street taught me humility, gratitude and the beauty of community. They reminded me what to focus on to have more peace. They showed me what matters and what doesn’t and how hard it is to fail to forgive others when you’ve been forgiven. They reminded me how much I love them.

And as I walked out the door and looked across at all the prayer requests for and from our community, I was also reminded they loved me and that “just showing up” blessed me more than it had anyone else.